The Southeastern Association of Fish and Wildlife Agencies (SEAFWA) named the University of Georgia’s (UGA) Wheatley Distinguished Professor of Deer Management Karl Miller, Ph.D. the 2018 C. W. Watson Award winner at their annual meeting in Mobile this week. The award is the highest honor bestowed by the Association.
“While the careers of many wildlife professionals focus on one general area, Dr. Miller’s accomplishments encompass white-tailed deer management practices, forest management impacts to wildlife habitat, and the education of future wildlife professionals,” said SEAFWA President Chuck Sykes.
Virginia Department of Game and Inland Fisheries Director Bob Duncan chaired the award committee. Duncan stated, “It was evident in Dr. Miller’s nomination that his commitment to continued scientific investigation is coupled firmly with an understanding that practical, applicable management recommendations need to be determined and conveyed to the broader public. Though he has produced numerous scientific documents, his translation of research results into on-the-ground management guidelines has had the largest and most lasting impacts.”
One example of this effort is his co-edited book Quality Whitetails, which has been critical in shaping deer hunters’ and managers’ expectations in the Southeast. Miller was also involved in the development of the Quality Deer Management Association and remains an engaged member.
Beyond white-tailed deer, Miller has provided important contributions to forest management and to conservation of bats, songbirds, squirrels, amphibians and coyotes. He has worked closely with the forest industry, the U.S. Forest Service, state forestry commissions, nongovernmental organizations and private landowners across the Southeast to better understand how wildlife respond to various forestry activities.
Recognizing the lack of a field guide that could help students and professionals not only identify plants but also provide information on their wildlife values, Miller and Dr. James Miller published the award-winning Forest Plants of the Southeast and Their Wildlife Uses. The book is the selected course text for several universities and is used extensively by most wildlife biologists in the Southeast.
“When it comes to passing on his considerable knowledge, Dr. Miller’s courses are some of the most frequently praised among our undergraduate students,” said UGA Warnell School of Forestry and Natural Resources Dean Dale Greene. “He is a skilled and demanding mentor who repeatedly demonstrates a keen ability to pass on knowledge to future generations.”
Having worked for the University of Georgia since 1985 in a number of positions, Miller has served as advisor for 57 master’s students and 19 Ph.D. students.
Miller serves as the sole scientist on the Board of Trustees for the Tall Timbers Research Station and Land Conservancy, an internationally acclaimed ecological research station in Georgia. He has received multiple Career Achievement awards from the QDMA and Southeast Deer Committee and the prestigious Caesar Kleberg Award for Excellence in Applied Wildlife Research from The Wildlife Society.
The C.W. Watson award is presented to the career individual who, in the opinion of the Award Committee, has made the greatest contribution to wildlife or fish conservation during the previous year or years. This award is presented jointly by the Southern Division of the American Fisheries Society, the Southeastern Section of the Wildlife Society, and the Southeastern Association of Fish and Wildlife Agencies.
The Southeastern Association of Fish and Wildlife Agencies (SEAFWA) is an organization whose members are the state agencies with primary responsibility for management and protection of the fish and wildlife resources in 15 states, Puerto Rico and the United States Virgin Islands. Member states are Alabama, Arkansas, Florida, Georgia, Kentucky, Louisiana, Mississippi, Missouri, North Carolina, Oklahoma, South Carolina, Tennessee, Texas, Virginia, and West Virginia.