Wini Kessler, the second woman to receive the Aldo Leopold Memorial Award, gives her Address on the dying wolf and “aha” moments.
Wini Kessler, Retired, Past-President of The Wildlife Society
Last year’s Aldo Leopold recipient Wini Kessler used Aldo Leopold’s writings to inspire her Aldo Leopold Award speech this year. She was especially inspired by his essay describing the “fierce green fire” dying in the eyes of a wolf and how that challenged his thinking about predators. She devoted her speech to her own dying wolf moments.
“I’ve seen much change in my profession,” Wini Kessler said. “I’ve worked with awesome people, seen some great advances in conservation, celebrated the victories and mourned the losses.”
“While we may live in a world of wounds, we are no longer alone,” Kessler said. “Just look at this room.”
Throughout her career, Wini Kessler said, she’s seen tremendous changes in the acceptance of women in wildlife careers, greater acceptance of ecological principles in natural resource management and transformations in education that go beyond specialized courses to creating educated citizens.
“I called for the creation of citizen wildlifers,” she said.
From a young girl going to a big city zoo becoming the “first woman” in so many different wildlife career milestones, Kessler story inspired attendees at her Aldo Leopold address this morning. And Kessler said it’s important to inspire others. “It’s critically important to think about the role you could play to ignite the minds of the future,” she said. Whether it’s your own kids or someone else’s she said it’s important to get children out into nature, zoos and aquariums and other places that could fire up their curiosity.
TWS President John McDonald presented this year’s Aldo Leopold Award to Leigh Frederickson for his work with wetlands and water bird ecology.
“He’s a pioneer in his field,” McDonald said, “and has had widespread management impacts on refuges around the country and internationally.”
Frederickson encouraged participants to reach out to non-biologists.
“This is the best profession, I think, for using all intellects and using them effectively to make better progress.”