Science Excellence



Science Awards


As we face increasingly complex conservation challenges, the value of current scientific information is rapidly increasing. Established in 2008, the Service’s annual Science Awards recognize that effective wildlife management and conservation is founded on innovative scientific inquiry and principles that are advanced every day through the dedication and outstanding efforts of our agency’s scientists and technical staff.

Nominations for the 2020 Science Awards may be made by Service employees and are due October 16, 2020. Nominations must be submitted online through the Science Awards SharePoint Nomination site (FWS employees only).

View the nomination guidelines for the Service's 2020 Science Awards

View the list of past Science Award Winners



2019 Science Award Recipients


2019 Sam D. Hamilton Award for Transformational Conservation Science:
Shauna Marquardt, Assistant Field Supervisor, Minnesota/Wisconsin Ecological Services (ES) Office
Shauna Marquardt was nominated for this award while serving as a biologist in the Missouri ES Office, and one can see why. She transformed endangered bat conservation and monitoring in the state by working with partners to help establish the Sodalis Nature Preserve, a Hannibal city park protecting more than 35% of the range-wide population of Indiana bats; creating the first-ever conservation bank for Indiana bats and northern long-eared bats; and by innovating the use of Light Detecting and Ranging (LiDAR) technology to survey and monitor bat hibernacula in Missouri.
Learn more.

2019 Rachel Carson Award for Exemplary Scientific Accomplishment:
Randy Brown, Alaska Region, Fairbanks Fish and Wildlife Field Office, Fish Biologist
Among his many scientific accomplishments to conserve anadromous fish populations in Alaska, Randy Brown combined radio-tracking, genetic analysis, otolith chemistry, and mark-recapture methods to fill critical information gaps about Bering Cisco, an endemic whitefish species. His work is helping Regional leadership and his colleagues make informed management decisions and ensure the long-term sustainability of this resource that is vital to the lives and livelihoods of subsistence users and commercial fishers.
Learn more.

2019 Science Leadership Award:
Deanna Spooner, Pacific Islands Region, Coordinator – Science Applications Program
Recently retired from the Service, the impact of Deanna Spooner's vibrant leadership to advance biocultural resource conservation in Hawai'i and the Pacific Islands continues to resonate. Deanna inspired her staff to integrate indigenous perspectives into their work; produce groundbreaking scientific studies; foster collaborations with community, state, and national partners; and co-develop projects that support climate adaptation initiatives as well as endangered species and ecosystems decision-making.
Learn more.

All of the nominations for the 2019 Science Awards were rigorously reviewed by a national screening committee and the highest caliber nominations were forwarded to a Selection Committee of current and former Service leaders for consideration.


Last updated: September 8, 2020

Please send comments, suggestions and questions for this Web site to: Megan Cook at megan_cook@fws.gov

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