ROOM: HCCC, Ballroom AB
Aldo Leopold authored a wealth of science and policy papers, but it’s his memoirs and philosophical essays that are widely known, remembered, and revisited. In his essay Thinking Like a Mountain, he shared how one pivotal moment, the dying of a wolf, caused him to think deeply about predator-prey ecology and subsequently transformed his views on predator management. Leopold’s sharing of personal revelations and reflections is a gift that continues to inform, inspire, and shape our thinking today. Revisiting Leopold’s writings reminded me about the importance of “dying wolf” moments—those surprising instances of clarity that trigger reflection and shape one’s perspectives going forward. Both Leopold’s writings and my own “dying wolf” moments have influenced the pathways taken in my wildlife career. My talk will highlight some of those discoveries as they relate to the evolving field of wildlife ecology, roles and relationships within our profession, and the pursuit of opportunities to make a difference for people and wildlife.
Retired, Past-President of The Wildlife Society
Kessler is the second woman to receive the Aldo Leopold Memorial Award. She studied Zoology as an undergraduate at the University of California-Berkeley, where she met professor Starker Leopold, son of Aldo, who served as a mentor. She received her Ph.D. from Texas A&M University and went on to land her first job as an assistant professor at the University of Idaho. Her career led her to many positions in both academics and government agencies. She taught at Utah State University, chaired the forestry program at the University of Northern British Columbia and worked with the U.S. Forest Service for 21 years in positions such as Alaska regional ecologist, national wildlife ecologist and Alaska regional director of wildlife, fisheries, ecology and watershed management. Throughout her career, she’s seen the field of wildlife biology accept more women and minorities. She continues to serve on a number of boards, including the Ducks Unlimited Canada board, the Habitat Conservation Trust Foundation, the Wildlife and Hunting Heritage Conservation Council and others. She also continues to volunteer for the Boone and Crockett Club, where she became its first female professional member, in 1993.