Newsroom Midwest Region

Scott Hicks selected for the 2018 Science Leadership Award

March  11, 2019

Scott Hicks and former Michigan Senator Carl Levin discuss Kirtland's warbler habitat. Photo by USFWS.
Scott Hicks and former Michigan Senator Carl Levin discuss Kirtland's warbler habitat. Photo by USFWS.

We at the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service are happy to announce that Scott Hicks, Supervisor for the Michigan Ecological Services Field Office, is the winner of the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service’s 2018 Science Leadership Award. This award recognizes supervisors who champion the use of science in conservation decision making and who empower their staff to accomplish scientific work and engage with the scientific community. It reflects the Service’s continued dedication to strengthening the agency’s use of science in the conservation of fish, wildlife, plants and their habitats.

“Excellence in science, and its application to natural resource decision making, has always been a hallmark of the Service,” said Acting Midwest Regional Director Charlie Wooley. “Scott is most deserving of this honor. In leading efforts at our Michigan Ecological Services Office with a talented staff and collaboration with great natural resource partners from the state of Michigan, and beyond, Scott has helped ensure a foundation of sound science in our work. Congratulations!”

Some highlights of the work recognized by this honor include Hicks’ demonstration of science leadership through fostering employee professional growth and supporting the collaborative efforts of his staff internally, with state partners and across the region to achieve our mission. He encourages his staff to use innovative tools like bat acoustic detectors and identification software, temperature data loggers, high tech trail cameras, underwater and thermal cameras and avian geolocators to collect data.

“Given science is the foundation of what we do as an agency, this award is very meaningful personally. But even more, I feel an incredible appreciation for the Service staff, researchers and other conservation partners that I’ve been lucky enough to work with,” said Hicks.

Scott has also helped to foster important collaboration among members of the Kirtland’s warbler recovery program, which has improved our understanding of the species’ needs and has been an important aspect of enabling us to propose delisting the Kirtland’s warbler under the Endangered Species Act.

“This award is not one I would have expected or even contemplated, but I’m honored to be the recipient and very proud of the great work done by our team and our collaborators. Be it partners like the Michigan Department of Natural Resources, Smithsonian Migratory Bird Center, U.S. Geological Survey or local university researchers and students, this award is shared for the great things we can accomplish working together,” he added.

These examples of Scott’s leadership and commitment to meet our mission through sound science reflect the high priority of science in our work.

Scott and the winners of the Sam D. Hamilton Award for Transformational Conservation Science and the Rachel Carson Award for Exemplary Scientific Accomplishment were honored at the North American Wildlife and Natural Resources on conference March 7. This is the 11th year of the Service’s Science Awards to recognize our agency’s scientists and technical staff and their outstanding achievements in the conservation of fish, wildlife, plants and their habitats.

The Rachel Carson Award for Exemplary Scientific Accomplishment recognizes scientific achievement through the rigorous practice of science applied to a conservation problem. The Sam D. Hamilton Award for Transformational Conservation Science recognizes those who are working on big picture challenges, developing collaborative partnerships and improving how the Service creates and delivers science for conservation.