2004 Leopold Award

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Aldo Leopold Memorial Award and Medal

The Wildlife Society’s 55th Aldo Leopold Memorial Award and Medal was awarded to Dr. David R. Anderson of Fort Collins, Colorado, on September 19, 2004. This award recognizes 37 years of professional service to the wildlife profession. The award was presented to Dr. Anderson by TWS President Dr. Daniel J. Decker during the Society’s annual meeting held in Calgary, Canada in 2004.
The prestigious Aldo Leopold Memorial Award and Medal is presented for “distinguished service to wildlife conservation.” It is the highest honor bestowed by The Wildlife Society and is considered the ultimate recognition for a professional wildlife ecologist. The award has been given to a single individual each year since 1950.
“ I commend David Anderson for his distinct commitment to wildlife science and theoretical ecology that he has demonstrated throughout his long career” said USGS Associate Director Dr. Sue Hazeltine. Dr. Anderson was described by nominators and supporters as “the most influential person in the wildlife management profession over the past 30 years.”
Dr. Anderson has published 15 books and research monographs; 99 papers in peer-reviewed national/international scientific journals; 45 book chapters, government scientific report series, and conference proceedings and transactions; and 15 technical reports in ecology and other life sciences and statistical science. He was a Senior Scientist with the U.S. Geological Survey and is now president of Applied Information Company in Fort Collins, CO. Dr. Anderson received Bachelor of Science and Master of Science degrees from Colorado State University and a Ph.D. degree from the University of Maryland.

Colorado Educator Wins Ultimate Honor for a Wildlife Professional

Dr. David R. Anderson–a scientist, teacher, and scholar–today was given the prestigious Aldo Leopold Award for 2004. The award, named for the man generally credited with giving rise to the science of wildlife management, has been presented by The Wildlife Society every year since 1950. Honoring distinguished service to wildlife conservation, it is the ultimate recognition for a wildlife professional.
From his earliest days as a student at Colorado State and the University of Maryland, Dr. Anderson immersed himself in the kinds of wildlife science topics that could stop a wild herd of—well, just about any creature. And in a foretaste of things to come, he put himself on track to estimate just how many individuals there might be in a wild herd, or in a flight of ducks or a school of salmon.
Anderson quickly became masterful in the vitally important and yet often controversial area of estimating wildlife populations. For example, his 1975 paper in the journal Ecology developed the basis for the management strategies later adopted by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service for continent-wide waterfowl harvest. Over his 40-year career, the Leopold winner has systematically rewritten the basis for how we measure and interpret population estimates, publishing 14 books and monographs and winning four Wildlife Society publication-of-the-year awards along the way.
As remarkable as his writing is Anderson’s enormous capacity to clarify arcane concepts for both wildlifers and students. He has taught thousands of students, from his home base in Colorado to workshops held around the world.
Perhaps his most impressive quality, however, is his passion to “make the numbers count.” In the early 1990s, when waterfowl management was in a state of acrimony caused by long droughts and 20 years of restrictive harvest regulations, he provided the mechanism–now known as adaptive harvest management–that put national waterfowl management back on its feet. For that work and ongoing status reviews of the northern spotted owl, Dr. Anderson regularly won awards and acclaim from his employers in the U.S. Department of the Interior.
In presenting the Leopold Award, TWS President Daniel Decker put it this way: “His intense scrutiny of how we plan, implement, and analyze our science and management has led David Anderson to think deeply and clearly about ‘how we know what we know.’ ”

The Wildlife Society, founded in 1937, is the association of professionals dedicated to excellence in wildlife stewardship through science and education. It works to develop and maintain professional standards, advance professional stewardship of wildlife and its habitats, and increase public awareness and appreciation of wildlife management. It has thousands of members in more than 70 countries.