Conservation Awards



  • R. T. Bowyer
  • J. A. Esselstyn
  • J. R. Goheen
  • K. M. Helgen
  • T. Jung
  • N. Ordoñez-Garza
  • S. Grassel
  • S. Wisely

History and Mission

In 2002, the American Society of Mammalogists established 2 new conservation awards to recognize outstanding contributions to the conservation of mammals and their habitats.

Aldo Leopold Award

The first award, the Aldo Leopold Award, is awarded to a well-established individual who has made a lasting contribution to the conservation of mammals and their habitats. We are proud to honor the memory of former ASM member Aldo Leopold with the senior award. Not only did Aldo Leopold have a significant and lasting influence in wildlife conservation and management, but he also had a great interest in mammals. He was an active member of ASM and a member of the Conservation of Land Mammals Committee (4 years) in the 1930s and during this time worked to defend wolves in Wisconsin and the Great Lakes states and grizzly bears in New Mexico. Leopold is well known for his famous land ethic philosophy, and is considered to be the “father” of wildlife ecology and management. His son, A. Starker Leopold, served as Chair of the Conservation of Land Mammals Committee in the 1950s. Students of both generations of Leopolds have had a profound impact on the field of mammalogy. In 2003, the inaugural Aldo Leopold Award recipient was E. O. Wilson of Harvard University for his valuable contributions to mammalian conservation through his development and promotion of the concepts of biodiversity.

William T. Hornaday Award

The second award, the William T. Hornaday Award, is awarded to a current undergraduate or graduate student who has made a significant contribution as a student to the conservation of mammals and their habitats. This award was not given in 2003. Nominations were considered for the first time in 2004. Hornaday was a pioneer in wildlife conservation and the “architect” of 2 of the most renowned zoological parks in the United States, the National Zoo in Washington, D.C. and the New York Zoological Park in Bronx, New York. Hornaday was responsible for a number of early wildlife protection laws in the US, was instrumental in saving the northern fur seal from extinction, and authored 15 books and numerous articles about wildlife and the need for conservation. The fate of the American bison seemed to stir Hornaday most deeply, perhaps because he had himself witnessed the systematic slaughter of this species in the west. His 1889 book entitled “The extermination of the American bison” established him as a prominent defender of these animals, and in the early 1900s, he founded the National Bison Society and promoted the establishment of the Wichita, Kansas and Montana Bison Ranges.

2014 Aldo Leopold Award Recipient

The Aldo Leopold Award is awarded to a well-established individual who has made a lasting contribution to the conservation of mammals and their habitats. Aldo Leopold, the “father” of wildlife ecology and management, is well known for his famous land ethic philosophy and his influence on wildlife conservation, including his active membership on ASM Conservation Committees in the 1930s.

The 2014 Aldo Leopold Conservation Award from the American Society of Mammalogists is awarded to Dr. Lawrence Heaney. The Award is given to well-established individuals who have made lasting contributions to the conservation of mammals and their habitats.

Dr. Heaney has worked tirelessly over the past three decades to creatively explore, document and conserve the highly diverse mammalian fauna of one of the most diverse oceanic archipelagos on our planet. During that time, he also was heavily engaged in training the next generation of local mammalogists; many of these individuals are now in professional conservation, resource management, or academic positions in this archipelago. His work has been sponsored by the National Science Foundation and a wide range of conservation NGOs and foundations. As a student, our awardee was naturally drawn to Southeast Asia through his interest in biogeography and his appreciation that islands of this part of the world provided fertile ground for research into the diversification of insular faunas. Interest in this region early in his career led to a lengthy and highly productive research program, with more than 160 publications that detail impressive new taxonomic discoveries, new insights into the biogeography of the region, conservation biology of endemic species and phylogenetic relationships among a significant portion of the mammalian fauna (especially rodents and bats) of this Southeast Asian region. All aspects of his research are oriented toward conservation. In addition to his high research productivity, our awardee also was instrumental in the formation and development of several conservation efforts in the region including new conservation NGOs (Wildlife Conservation Society of the Philippines) and through his training efforts, the development of human capacity in conservation biology for the region. He also has made information on mammals accessible to the general public by publishing beautiful popular books focused on conservation topics for the region including the widely acclaimed Vanishing Treasures of the Philippine Rain Forest

Dr. Heaney is Curator and Head of Mammals at the Field Museum of Natural History in Chicago.

2014 William T. Hornaday Award

The recipient of the 2014 American Society of Mammalogist’s William T. Hornaday Award is Erin Baerwald. The William T. Hornaday Award is awarded to a student who has made a significant contribution to the conservation of mammals and their habitats. Erin is a Ph.D student at the University of Calgary. Erin has already made a tremendous impact on mammalian conservation by exploring the causes and extent of bat mortalities related to wind turbine generators. These energy installations have seen astronomical growth over the last decade on our planet. Both her master’s thesis and doctoral research focused on bat conservation, including the impact of wind turbines on bat migration. Erin’s master’s thesis generated some of the very first publications on bats and wind energy. She was the first to describe the phenomena of barotrauma as one source of fatality at wind turbines.

To date Erin has published 8 papers on bats and wind turbines (with another now in revision). She has delivered numerous conference (3 invited) and public talks on different aspects of this conservation issue as well. She is an excellent communicator of information to diverse audiences. Erin has worked closely with industry to design operational mitigation to reduce bat mortalities, discovering that death could be significantly reduced if turbines altered their nightly activity patterns. These kinds of applied studies are critical to mammalian conservation in a rapidly changing world.  


Aldo Leopold Award

The Aldo Leopold Award is awarded to a well-established individual who has made a lasting contribution to the conservation of mammals and their habitats.

William T.Hornaday Award

The William T. Hornaday Award is awarded to a current undergraduate or graduate student who has made a significant contribution as a student to the conservation of mammals and their habitats.

Award Requirements

The recipient of each award will have contributed substantially to

  1. The conservation of 1 or more mammalian species, subspecies, or populations,
  2. The conservation of mammalian assemblages and communities, and/or
  3. Advancing the field of conservation biology through focal research on mammals.

Those contributing to the conservation of land and/or marine mammals are eligible for consideration. We interpret “contribution” broadly to include

  1. Scientific research or political activism that has resulted in the preservation of an imperiled species;
  2. Development of protective management recommendations;
  3. Acquisition of new knowledge regarding the conservation status or causes for decline of mammalian species or populations;
  4. The protection of significant mammalian habitat; or
  5. Promotion of the conservation of mammals through public education.

Required Documents

All persons are invited to submit nominations for these awards. For each award, the nomination packet should include:

  1. A brief (2 pages maximum) narrative that introduces and describes the conservation activities of the nominee;
  2. A list of relevant journal articles, government and NGO reports, newspaper clippings, and other materials that chronicle and corroborate the conservation-related activities of the nominee;
  3. Contact information for the nominator and nominee;
  4. Other supporting material as follows:

Aldo Leopold Award

A letter of nomination for the Leopold Award and a curriculum vita should be sent to  before 10 February to Joseph Cook ( If the nominated candidate is judged competitive by the Conservation Awards Committee, the nominator will be asked to send a complete nomination packet (nominating letter, curriculum vita, 3 pieces of corroborative literature that most succinctly and directly describe the nominee’s contributions to mammalian conservation, and up to 4 additional letters of support incorporated into a single PDF). The nominator should send the PDF to Joseph Cook by 1 March.

William T. Hornaday Award

Letters of recommendation from 2 individuals familiar with the nominee’s conservation activities. One of these letters must be from the student’s research advisor. Completed nomination packets in a single PDF should be sent to Joseph A. Cook ( The deadline for submission of completed nominations is 1 March.

Recipients of these awards will be announced during the banquet at the annual ASM meeting.


for outstanding contributions to the conservation of mammals and mammalian biodiversity

  • 2003—Edward O. Wilson, Harvard University
  • 2004—Russell A. Mittermeier, Conservation International, Washington, DC
  • 2005—George B. Schaller, Wildlife Conservation Society, Bronx, NY
  • 2007—Rodrigo A. Medellín, Instituto de Ecología, Universidad Nacional Autónoma de México,Coyoacán, Ciudad de México, México
  • 2008—Virgilio G. Roig, Jardín Zoológico de Mendoza, Mendoza, Argentina
  • 2009—Helene Marsh, James Cook University, Townsville, Queensland, Australia
  • 2010—Herbert Prins, Chair of Resource Ecology, Wageningen University, The Netherlands
  • 2011—Rubén Bárquez, Consejo Nacional de Investigaciones Científicas y Técnicas (CONICET of Argentina)
  • 2012—Dean Biggins, US Geological Service, Fort Collins, CO
  • 2013—Joel Berger, University of Montana
  • 2014—Lawrence R. HeaneyField Museum of Natural History, Chicago, IL


presented to a student/young professional who has made a significant contribution as a student to the conservation of mammals and their habitats.

  • 2004—Brent Sewall, University of California-Davis
  • 2005—Isabel Beasley, James Cook University, Queensland, Austrailia
  • 2008—Angelia S. M. Vanderlaan, Oceanography Department, Dalhousie University, Halifax, Nova Scotia, Canada
  • 2009—Gerrit Jan Schipper III, Director of IUCN-SSC/CI-CABS Global Mammal Assessment
  • 2011—Enzo Aliaga-Rosel (University of Hawai`i at Manoa)
  • 2013—Abdullahi Hussein Ali, Univeristy of Wyoming (Ph.D. student)
  • 2014—Erin BaerwaldUniversity of Calgary (Ph.D. student)