President Kelt announces the J. Mary Taylor Award for Diversity and Inclusive Excellence in Mammalogy

Dear friends, colleagues, and fellow mammalogists –

This has been quiet a year for us all.  I sincerely hope that you and your loved ones are managing the pandemic safely, and that we all get through this in good health.  Vaccines are rolling out, and I for one am hoping that we do, indeed, see light at the end of the COVID-19 tunnel. 

Christmas 2020 was a solitary experience for many of us, although Zoom or Skype or WhatsApp helped to maintain contact with family and friends.  Still, it is not the same. 

The ASM Board of Directors met twice this year – virtually, of course.  In June we met to address all the standard business issues we would have dealt with at our annual meeting.  We met again in early December to finalize a budget for 2021; we needed to complete a budget for our 2021 ASM meeting before we could develop a full Society budget, and with the virtual platform for ASM 2021 the meeting budget took longer than usual to prepare.

However, we are finally getting settled in and ready for 2021.  I am writing today to remind you of one exciting development in 2020, in case you are facing the end of the year and wondering where to allocate any extra coins in your pockets. 

The Human Diversity Committee and the ASM Office of the Ombudspersons jointly developed a proposal for a new award to honor members or teams within the ASM who contribute particularly notably to promoting diversity, equity, and inclusivity within the field of mammalogy.  I am very pleased to remind you of the “J. Mary Taylor Award for Diversity and Inclusive Excellence in Mammalogy”, which the Board unanimously approved at our June meeting.  Mary Taylor was the first female President of the ASM and was an exemplar of the importance of promoting diversity in STEM sciences, particularly in mammalogy.  I will not belabor Mary’s many accomplishments here, as she has already been celebrated in several write-ups (Layne and Hoffmann 1994; Horner et al. 1996), and an obituary is forthcoming in the Journal.  Rather, I will note that the first Taylor Award is scheduled to be announced at our 2021 meeting, and we are now accepting contributions to this fund.  You can read more about this award here, and you can donate to this worthy fund here.

The ASM has ten named funds that help us in our ongoing efforts to support mammalogy as a field of study, as well as to recognize excellence in this field.  Funds donated to each of these are managed by our Trustees to ensure continued support of fund objectives.  Our goal is to make each of these funds self-sustaining, meaning that anticipated returns on the corpus of each fund can fully support the anticipated annual expenditures.  You can see each of these funds, and I invite you to note where each fund stands relative to being self-sustaining, here.

I will be in touch again in early 2021.  Until then, stay healthy and safely enjoy bringing in the New Year!

Very best –



HORNER, B. E., J. M. TAYLOR, A. V. LINZEY, AND G. R. MICHENER. 1996. Women in Mammalogy (1940–1994): Personal Perspectives. Journal of Mammalogy 77:655-674.

LAYNE, J. N., AND R. S. HOFFMANN. 1994. Presidents. Pp. 22-70 in Seventy-five years of Mammalogy (1919-1994) (E. C. Birney and J. R. Choate, eds.). The American Society of Mammalogists Special Publication 11. 433 pages.