At their annual conference held in Corpus Christi, Texas, October 15-18, the Southeastern Association of Fish and Wildlife Agencies (SEAFWA) recognized Dr. Robert J. Warren, retired Professor Emeritus at University of Georgia’s Warnell School of Forestry and Natural Resources, as the recipient of their most prestigious award, the C.W. Watson Award.
The C.W. Watson Award, established in 1964, recognizes individuals with the most exceptional and impactful contributions to fish and wildlife conservation over their careers. The award is presented jointly by SEAFWA, the Southern Division of the American Fisheries Society, and the Southeastern Section of The Wildlife Society.
Dr. Warren has dedicated nearly 40 years of his professional career to wildlife conservation and education across the southeastern U.S. His innovative research was aimed at solving problems in human-wildlife interactions with a focus on addressing the political, social, and biological implications of wildlife management in developed landscapes.
Much of Dr. Warren’s research focused on managing abundant wildlife populations. He also conducted research on many different species to evaluate conservation issues and was a strong advocate of the importance of wildlife physiology in understanding the function of animals in their environment.
“I’d like to thank my former students and colleagues for submitting my nomination for this award—I’m very honored,” said Dr. Warren upon receiving the award. “I’ve always considered the SEAFWA conference to be one of the best professional meetings because it combines all the important functions of fish and wildlife conservation agencies—management, research, law enforcement, information/education, and policy/law—at a single venue. I attended my first SEAFWA conference in 1978 while I was still a graduate student at Virginia Tech. I could never have imagined back then that I’d be honored with this most prestigious award 45 years later.”
Dr. Warren provided extensive service to the profession, his students, and to the public. He joined the faculty at the University of Georgia in 1983 and served as Meigs Distinguished Professor since 2000. He was appointed as Interim Dean of the University of Georgia Daniel B. Warnell School of Forestry and Natural Resources from 2006-2007 and retired from the University of Georgia in 2016 after 33 years. He served as president of both The Wildlife Society and the Southeastern Section of The Wildlife Society and published nearly 160 scientific, peer-reviewed journal articles. His outreach record impacted wildlife policy discussions and moved the profession forward.
Perhaps most importantly, his passion for teaching influenced generations of wildlife professionals. Karl V. Miller, University of Georgia Professor Emeritus, and Lisa Muller, University of Tennessee Professor and Assistant Director, wrote in their nomination letter, “Dr. Bob Warren is a highly distinguished wildlife professional whose career spanned over four decades of education, research, and service. He served a very broad role during his career, but among his greatest passions were teaching natural resource students and mentoring graduate students. He taught and mentored a lasting legacy of outstanding wildlife professionals who have been a great influence on wildlife management and conservation across the Southeast. There are only a few individuals who can demonstrate comparable breadth and depth of contributions over their long and fruitful careers.”
The C.W. Watson Award recognizes Dr. Watson for his impactful and distinguished service.