NTRES Awards!

Congratulations are in order for both Patrick J. Sullivan and Daniel Joseph Decker!

Dr. Sullivan was recently awarded the 2013 College of Agriculture and Life Sciences’ Research and Extension Award for Outstanding Accomplishments in Science and Public Policy, which honors an individual who is able to implement scientific research into the fields of public policy and or management. Dr. Decker was honored with the 2013 College of Agriculture and Life Sciences’ Research and Extension Award for Outstanding Service to the CALS Community, which recognizes an individual who has exhibited leadership in a specific role such as a chair or leader of a task force or program.

Both will be presented with their awards at a reception that will be held on Monday, November 4, from 4-6 PM in Biotech G10.

Announcing Dan Decker as Chair of the Department of Natural Resources

We are very pleased to announce that Professor Dan Decker has agreed to become the next Chair of the Department of Natural Resources, effective July 1, 2013, for a three year term. Please join with us in congratulating Dan on this new appointment!

Dan brings to the position a record of strong scholarship and administrative experience (including previous service as department Chair).


Please also join us in thanking Marianne Krasny for her dedicated service as department Chair. Marianne will continue her valuable work in the NTRES community, such as with the EPA’s National Environmental Education Training Program, with her graduate students and colleagues in the Civic Ecology Lab, teaching online courses for outside Cornell audiences, and work on a book currently under review and an eBook just underway.

Marianne Krasny, department Chair 2007-2013


HDRU Faculty Published in Essential Wildlife Textbook

Several articles by The Human Dimensions Research Unit were included in the recently published textbook Essential Readings in Wildlife Management and Conservation. The book is edited by Paul Krausman and Bruce Leopold, and includes forty-two essential papers on wildlife management and conservation, each with a commentary and associated publications. Daniel Decker and Barbara Knuth, along with former NTRES faculty Charles Krueger, Richard Baer, Jr., and Milo E. Richmond, have an article entitled “From Clients to Stakeholders: A Philosophical Shift for Fish and Wildlife Management” in the philosophical section of the book. Dr. Decker also has two other articles in the human dimensions section: “Human Dimensions of living with wildlife– a management challenge for the 21st century” written with Lisa Chase, and “Public Attitudes Toward a Suburban Deer Herd” written with Thomas Gavin.

Dr. Dan Decker Awarded Aldo Leopold Memorial Award

Dr. Dan Decker was awarded the Aldo Leopold Memorial Award this past Monday, October 15. The award is described as follows:

Aldo Leopold Memorial Award

Following Aldo Leopold’s death in April 1948, The Wildlife Society established an award medal in his memory to recognize individuals who have demonstrated “distinguished services of undoubted significance to the cause of wildlife conservation.” It is our highest honor. We are proud to recognize Dr. Daniel Decker as the 2012 Aldo Leopold Memorial Award winner.

Daniel J. Decker

In Meine’s (1988) book: Aldo Leopold: His life and Work, Leopold is quoted as saying:

“One of the anomalies of modern ecology is the creation of two groups, each of which seems barely aware of the existence of the other. The one studies the human community, almost as if it were a separate entity, and calls its findings sociology, economics and history. The other studies the plant and animal community and comfortably relegates the hodge-podge of politics to the liberal arts. The inevitable fusion of these two lines of thought will, perhaps, constitute the outstanding advance of this century.”

In truth, we as a profession struggled for many years on how to understand and incorporate public opinion and their values into wildlife management without sacrificing the biological relevance of wildlife management. Traditional wildlife management focused on applied wildlife biology in all its evolving sophistication. But as been pointed out elsewhere, wildlife management decision-making has become as much a socio-political issue as a biological one. Managers are faced with publics that have become vocal about wildlife issues and now demand a full role in the decision- making process. Many of us in this room were not trained to understand, much less to cope with, these challenges. Yet the rapid ascent of Human Dimension in into a field of wildlife study at more than 55 universities and countless professional training programs attests to the devotion and tireless efforts of is champions in just a few short years.

This years’ winner of the Aldo Leopold Award is one of the most successful of these champions in recent times. He is an outstanding leader, who has guided us down the path of integrating Human Dimensions into our field in both in an effective, applied manner and to a compelling end.

This year’s winner grew up in his native Catskills of New York where his passion for wildlife was fueled by hunting deer and stalking wary waterfowl tucked away in the back waters along the Delaware River. He soon went on to earn a Bachelor of Science in wildlife ecology at Cornell University. He remained at Cornell, where he earned both a Masters and PhD degrees in wildlife by the mid-1980s.

Although his roots began in conventional wildlife sciences, he moved toward a human dimensions orientation because he believed that he would contribute more toward sustainable conservation decisions through this line of research and outreach than if he followed the traditional path. He was among the first and most productive wildlife scientists to recognize importance of the human dimensions. He has produced several hundred publications including numerous seminal papers and several first-time books in Wildlife Values and Human Dimensions; he put his written word into practical training by developing pragmatic workshops, which have been instrumental in helping state and federal agencies implement new knowledge into their management programs– something that has generated strong support from his governmental sponsors, as his strong letters of support for the Aldo Leopold Award illustrate.

His ties to Cornell proved deep, and despite short excursions elsewhere, it was at Cornell University that for over 35 years he has fostered his work in Human Dimensions in wildlife.  From 1982 to the present, he has been Co-leader or Director of the Human Dimensions Research Unit, a flagship research entity that has educated many wildlife professionals working in this area. Although the Human Dimensions Research Unit dates back to the early 1970s and has employed many fine scientists, the Unit’s trajectory of growth and impact in wildlife conservation and management since 1982 has been almost single-handedly fueled by this year’s recipient of the Aldo Leopold Award.  The Unit now consists of 27 faculty, staff and graduate students, is the leader in this arena of applied scholarship, and has earned an international reputation for training academicians, students and nature resource agency staff.

In his position at the Human Dimensions Research Unit, the recipient promoted applied research in the fields of conservation education and human dimensions, and translated research findings for resource professionals via publications, presentations, workshops, and with sabbatical leaves working directly with public agencies. His recent research and outreach efforts have positioned the wildlife management profession for greater relevance in the future, by tackling the human dimensions across a range of tough subjects, ranging from suburban wildlife to adaptive harvest management to local community-based management, to hunter retention, and wildlife habituation in National Parks.  It is these devoted efforts that has resulted in his long list of publications and produced a cadre of exceptional graduate student ambassadors who have carried on in the field.  His efforts across the board have been visionary and have challenged professionals to help them become better leaders, decision makers, and overall stewards in trust of the natural resources. And all these efforts occurred at the same time as holding positions such as Chairman in the Department of Natural Resources, Director of the Cornell University Agricultural Experiment Station, Associate Dean of the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences, and Director of the Office of Land Grant Affairs, and conducting research projects nationally and internationally.

Past awards bestowed on this year’s Aldo Leopold recipient attest to his unique contributions in the field of human dimensions. Among those are the Jack H. Berryman Institute for Wildlife Damage Management Award and the Daniel L. Leedy Urban Wildlife Conservation Award. He also has been recognized by The Wildlife Society. He was awarded the Wildlife Publication Award for his co-edited book, Wildlife and Society: The Science of Human Dimensions (2009), he was elected a Wildlife Fellow, he received the John Pearce Memorial Award from the Northeast Section of TWS, and Outstanding Wildlife Professional Award from the New York Chapter of TWS.  His service to The Wildlife Society has been no less outstanding. He moved through the ranks from Northeast Section President in 1988 to vice President to President of TWS from 2001 to 2005, a time of strain in The Society, when his leadership in thinking “outside the box” put us back on the road to success and left us with legacies such as the Wildlife Professional.

Significance of Wildlife Diseases

The Wildlife Society’s Annual Conference in Portland, Oregon took place this past Tuesday, October 16, where Dan Decker took part in explaining the significance of wildlife diseases in relation to One Health.

Diseases in wildlife have become a fast emerging global problem severely affecting wildlife conservation and management. Wildlife biologists play a critical role in disease ecology, using their expertise to maintain human health, agricultural health, and conservation efforts, as well as to understand the links between wildlife, livestock, and human pathogens.

The One Health philosophy is an interdisciplinary approach involving all species’ health, making wildlife a significant factor in improving global health. This gives wildlife professionals the opportunity to really take part in the integrating of One Health in disease ecology, conservation, and management.

2nd Edition of Human Dimensions of Wildlife Management textbook published

The long awaited 2ndedition of the Human Dimensions of Wildlife Management textbook has been published!

Description from online sources: Wildlife professionals can more effectively manage species and social-ecological systems by fully considering the role that humans play in every stage of the process. Human Dimensions of Wildlife Management provides the essential information that students and practitioners need to be effective problem solvers. Edited by three leading experts in wildlife management Daniel J. Decker, Shawn J. Riley, and William F. Siemer, this textbook explores the interface of humans with wildlife and their sometimes complementary, often conflicting, interests. The book’s well-researched chapters address conservation, wildlife use (hunting and fishing), and the psychological and philosophical underpinnings of wildlife management.

Human Dimensions of Wildlife Management explains how a wildlife professional should handle a variety of situations, such as managing deer populations in residential areas or encounters between predators and people or pets.

This thoroughly revised and updated edition includes detailed information about • systems thinking• working with social scientists• managing citizen input• using economics to inform decision making• preparing questionnaires• ethical considerations

To order this book, click here.

Dr. Dan Decker Inducted into Port Jervis Hall of Fame

The Port Jervis School District is inducting seven of their graduates into their Alumni Hall of Fame, including Dr. Dan Decker. Decker has countless distinguished achievements in wildlife management and has had a positive impact on the community, earning him a well deserved place in the Alumni Hall of Fame. The Alumni Hall of Fame recognizes and honors former students, who receive plaques with their photograph and biography and are put on display at Port Jervis High School.

Click here to see an article about these awards.

Cornell Biological Field Station Advisory Committee Meeting

The Cornell Biological Field Station (CBFS) Advisory Committee met on September 5, 2012.  Cornell members of the committee include Marianne Krasny, Dan Decker, Bill Fisher, Sarah Gould, Rebecca Schneider, Nelson Hairston, Max Pfeffer, and Peter Paradise.  External members are John Farrell (SUNY ESF), Jim Johnson (USGS) and Doug Stang (NYS DEC).  The CBFS leadership team (Lars Rudstam, Randy Jackson, JoAnne Getchonis, and Brian Young) presented an overview of the previous year’s projects as well as a look at current and future projects and goals. Peter Paradise, Director of Facilities for CALS Facilities and Operational Services, reviewed building projects on the CBFS campus.  Highlights included  research being conducted on Oneida Lake and the Great Lakes.  Detailed information on the CBFS program (www.cbfs.dnr.cornell.edu) and the annual report for 2011 (www.cbfs.dnr.cornell.edu/2011CBFS%20Annual%20Report.pdf) are available on the web.


CBFS Summer 2011 Staff and Students

Lauber and Decker Guest Editors for Speical Issue of Human Dimensions of Wildlife Journal

Dr. Bruce Lauber and Dr. Dan Decker are guest editors for the special edition of Human Dimensions of Wildlife: An International Journal. This special issue, Integrating Human Dimensions into Fish and Wildlife Management: An Essential Component of Adaptive Capacity, has a special introduction written by Lauber and Decker as well as an article by William Siemer, Bruce Lauber, Daniel Decker, and Shawn Riley.

This new issue contains the following articles:

Integrating Human Dimensions into Fish and Wildlife Management: An Essential Component of Adaptive Capacity
T. Bruce Lauber & Daniel J. Decker
Pages: 317-319

Peer-Reviewed Articles
Managing Large Ungulates in Europe: The Need to Address Institutional Challenges of Wildlife Management
Camilla Sandström
Pages: 320-332

Landscape Conservation Cooperatives: Bridging Entities to Facilitate Adaptive Co-Governance of Social–Ecological Systems
Cynthia Jacobson & Amanda L. Robertson
Pages: 333-343

Using Adaptive Leadership Principles in Collaborative Conservation with Stakeholders to Tackle a Wicked Problem: Imperiled Species Management in Florida
Elsa M. Haubold
Pages: 344-356

Contextual Awareness in Long-Term Partnerships Builds Adaptive Capacity for Conservation
Michael Painter & Heidi E. Kretser
Pages: 357-366

Measuring Motivations as a Method of Mitigating Social Values Conflict
Peter J. Fix & Andrew M. Harrington
Pages: 367-375

Agency Traits That Build Capacity to Manage Disease
William F. Siemer, T. Bruce Lauber, Daniel J. Decker & Shawn J. Riley
Pages: 376-388