The Herbert W. Kale, II Award

Nomination statement for Dr. Ronald F. Labisky, recipient of the Florida Chapter of The Wildlife Society's 2005 Herbert W. Kale, II Award:

The Herbert W. Kale, II Award was created in 1996 to recognize individuals who have balanced effective wildlife advocacy with the practice of wildlife biology and who have made a significant contribution to the conservation of Florida's natural resources. The Florida Chapter of The Wildlife Society recently recognized such an individual when it presented the award to Dr. Ronald F. Labisky, Emeritus Professor, Department of Wildlife Ecology and Conservation, University of Florida (UF), at its Spring Membership Meeting in Mount Dora.

Dr. Labisky received his B.S. degree (with Highest Honor) in Wildlife Conservation from South Dakota State University. As a recipient of a University of Wisconsin Alumni Research Scholarship, he received his M.S. and Ph.D. degrees in what he fondly refers to as “Professor Leopold's Shop” at the University of Wisconsin.

Dr. Labisky's professional accomplishments are many, and at many different levels. Despite the fact that he spent nearly a third of his career in administration, he published 80-plus refereed journal papers and 70 technical papers on a wide variety of species and topics. A rigorous mentor, particularly with respect to scientific writing, he has guided some 30 M.S. and Ph.D. students through their degree programs at UF. Dr. Labisky was the pivotal person in the establishment of the Cooperative Fish and Wildlife Research Unit at the UF in 1978. Perhaps his greatest contribution to Florida was his building of the foundation for the wildlife program that has become the Department of Wildlife Ecology and Conservation at UF.

Dr. Labisky contributed to his profession through 50 years of professional involvement in The Wildlife Society. He has served as an officer at both the Chapter and Section levels, as Associate Editor of the Journal of Wildlife Management, and on at least 20 TWS committees—including 3 terms on the Aldo Leopold Memorial Award Committee. His cumulative contribution to TWS totals some 40 years of service, and, currently, he is a principal player in TWS's effort to develop a strategic framework for “internationalizing” the wildlife profession.

Dr. Labisky contributed to the natural resource profession at the national level during the 17 years 1978-95. He was a co-founder of the National Association of University Fish and Wildlife Program Administrators in 1978. He founded the Fish and Wildlife Resources Committee within the National Association of State Universities and Land-Grant Colleges (NASULGC) in 1981, and subsequently represented the fish and wildlife community on numerous NASULGC committees, boards, and commissions through 1995. As chair of the ad-hoc National Fish and Wildlife Resources Research Council, established in 1978, he orchestrated efforts to increase the funding base for fish and wildlife research, testifying repeatedly before both U.S. House and Senate natural resource appropriation committees. During this same period of time, he also served on taskforces of the National Academy of Sciences that related to national wildlife issues.

At the time of his retirement in 2003, Dr. Labisky had completed 47 years of full time employment in the wildlife profession, including 20 years as a wildlife research scientist with the Illinois Natural History Survey and 27 years as an administrator and educator with UF. And, even though he has retired, he remains actively engaged in the Department of Wildlife Ecology and Conservation and in professional service, which is in concert with his trademark work ethic.

Dr. Labisky is the third distinguished recipient of the Herbert W. Kale, II Award . Previous recipients are Dr. Larry D. Harris (1988) and Dr. William B. Robertson, Jr., (2000).