The Southeastern Association of Fish and Wildlife Agencies (SEAFWA) named Gary Norman the 2019 Wildlife Biologist of the Year at their annual meeting in Hilton Head, South Carolina this week. Norman is the Forest Game Bird Project Leader for the Virginia Department of Game and Inland Fisheries (DGIF).
“Gary has dedicated his life to promoting and conserving Virginia’s natural resources,” said Chuck Sykes, SEAFWA President. “After more than 30 years, he continues to look for opportunities to improve the understanding and management of upland game birds. We are proud to present Gary with SEAFWA's Wildlife Biologist of the Year award.”
Norman joined the Virginia DGIF in 1987 as a District Wildlife Biologist. Since 1989, he has served in his current role as DGIF’s Forest Game Bird Project Leader. Prior to joining DGIF, Norman was an Assistant District Game Biologist with the West Virginia Division of Natural Resources from 1980 to 1986.
As Virginia's Forest Game Bird Project Leader, Norman has been the key investigator and leader for several large-scale research and monitoring projects that have significantly contributed to a better understanding of ruffed grouse, wild turkey and other wildlife species.
Highlights of Norman’s career include some of the largest studies of upland game birds ever conducted including the Appalachian Cooperative Grouse Research Project, Wild Turkey Population Dynamics in Virginia and West Virginia, and the Eastern Regional Mast Survey. The results of these studies have influenced management decisions throughout the region and are being used to teach future wildlife professionals across the country.
"Gary exemplifies how a state agency biologist can significantly advance the science-based understanding of wildlife conservation by merging the research efforts of multiple agencies and institutions,” said Ryan Brown, Virginia DGIF Executive Director. “He is well-deserving of this award.”
Norman earned a bachelor’s in wildlife science from West Virginia University in 1978 and a master’s in wildlife science from Virginia Tech in 1980. He has been active in The Wildlife Society serving on the Certification Review Board and as treasurer of the Virginia Chapter.
The Association’s Biologist of the Year Awards are presented to two career biologists of state wildlife agencies, one each in the categories of wildlife and fisheries, who in the opinion of the SEAFWA Awards Committee have made outstanding contributions toward wildlife/fisheries conservation.
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.