Civil Engineer, Sanjiv Kumar, joins the SFWS faculty as part of Auburn’s strategic hiring initiative

Sanjiv Kumar

This May, the School of Forestry and Wildlife Sciences welcomed Assistant Professor Sanjiv Kumar to its faculty. Kumar was hired within Auburn’s multidisciplinary Climate-Human-Earth System Sciences, or CHESS, cluster. In addition to his research, Kumar will teach courses related to the new geospatial and environmental informatics degree program, or GSEI.

The GSEI program offers opportunities for students to learn tools and techniques involved in data collection and development, data management, data analysis, developing prediction model, and applying these skills to environmental decision making.

“I am humbled to be a part of the GSEI program that aims to equip future generation of land/water/forest/agriculture/urban scientist, engineers, and managers with the latest technologies and skill sets necessary for a sound decision making,” said Kumar.

Kumar holds an undergraduate degree in Civil Engineering from the Indian Institute of Technology and a Master’s and Ph.D. in Civil Engineering from Purdue University.

Kumar’s background is in climate and hydrological modeling. His expertise involves using super computers to develop simulations which support the research of land and climate interactions, and their impacts on the availability of natural resources. “My research deals with analyzing big data (of the order of few Tera bytes) to study past and future changes in weather and climate, developing and evaluating numerical models to predict availability of natural resources from season to decades, and analyzing and communicating underlying uncertainties to the decision makers,” Kumar noted.

As part of the CHESS cluster, Kumar and his colleagues will develop models and assessments that can be helpful in improving society’s resiliency against climate extremes and variability and their resulting impacts on weather events such as floods, droughts and hurricanes.


SFWS hosts ceremony and reception to honor its 2017 spring graduates



The School of Forestry and Wildlife Sciences, or SFWS, held its 2017 Spring Graduation Ceremony and Reception on Saturday, May 6. Over two hundred family and friends of the 9 graduate students and 43 undergraduates joined faculty and staff in celebration of their academic achievements.

School of Forestry and Wildlife Sciences Dean, Dr. Janaki Alavalapati, acted as master of ceremonies, providing the welcoming remarks before recognizing the school’s 2017 Spring Graduation Marshal, Wildlife Sciences Pre-vet student, Marisa Pierluisi.

Following Dr. Alavalapati’s remarks, Associate Dean of Research, Dr. Graeme Lockaby, acknowledged faculty, staff and parents and invited graduate and undergraduate students to the podium where they were asked to introduce themselves before receiving a commemorative SFWS lapel pin as a keepsake from the school.

Faculty in attendance were Drs. Christopher Anderson, Lori Eckhardt, Tom Gallagher, Jodie Kenney, Sanjiv Kumar, Susan Pan, Maria Soledad Peresin, Jim Shepard and Mark Smith. Representing the School of Forestry and Wildlife Sciences during the Spring Commencement were Drs. Lori Eckhardt and Ryan Nadel.

Following the ceremony, the students enjoyed a reception on the school’s patio with their families and friends. (Photos from the ceremony and reception are available for download via Flikr.)

Please join us in congratulating the following graduate and undergraduate students who received their degrees during the spring graduation commencement ceremonies:

Graduate Degrees Conferred:

MS, Natural Resources

Megan Bartholomew (Maj. Professor, Chris Anderson)

MS, Wildlife Sciences

John Draper (Maj. Professor, Todd Steury)

Todd Jacobsen (Maj. Professor, Stephen Ditchkoff)

Kevyn Wiskirchen (Maj. Professor, Stephen Ditchkoff)

MS, Forestry

Seval Celik (Maj. Professor, Latif Kalin)

Andrea Cole-Wahl (Maj. Professor, Lori Eckhardt)

John Lancaster (Maj. Professor, Tom Gallagher)

Cameron Poyner (Maj. Professor, Joseph Fan)

MNR, MS Natural Resources (Non-thesis)

James Clayton Glass (Maj. Professor, Edward Loewenstein)

Maisa Cook (Maj. Professor, Bob Gitzen)

Chase Seals (Maj. Professor, Edward Loewenstein)

PHD, Applied Economics (Forestry)

Ying Lin (Maj. Professor, Daowei Zhang)

PHD, Forestry

Shree Sharma Dangal (Maj. Professor, Hanqin Tian)

Hamed Majidzadeh (Maj. Professor, B.G. Lockaby)


Undergraduate Degrees Conferred:


Noah Barcroft, Tyler Baxter, Forrest Bradley, Charles “David” Cauley, William Cook, Zachary “Shane” Dunning, Cody Hartzog, Jordan Heath, Thomas “Bryant” Jernigan, Dyer Jones, Truett Lawrence, Wilson Lowe, Kyle Malone, Lincoln McClearen, Grant Rutland, Christopher Turner, Nathan Williams, Stathon Wilson

Wildlife Sciences, Pre-Veterinarian

Sarah McWhorter, Marisa Pierluisi, Laura Raines, Chara Wood

Wildlife Ecology and Management

Travis Culbreth, Holly Peacock Davis, Matthew George, Amber Hall, Thomas “Bryant” Jernigan, Amy Johnson, Xena Smith, Rachael Vise, Chelsea Warner

Natural Resources Management

Max Birdsong, Cedric Ellis, Dallas Gentry, James Gnan, Dana Higgins, Ben Holcomb, Samuel Morris, Ethan Reece, Stinson Thompson, Tarah Vick, Amberly Ware, Rachel Womack

The ceremony and reception were hosted by the Office of Student Services’ Director, Dr. Jodie Kenney, and Coordinator of Student Recruitment and Events, Wendy Franklin.


SFWS Research Fellow John Kush inducted to Alabama Foresters’ Hall of Fame

Research Fellow John Kush leads a Forest Fire Management class at the Mary Olive Thomas Demonstration Forest in Auburn where he discusses concerns and potential issues with the prescribed burn area with the students. Photo credit: Chase Seals, SFWS Master’s of Natural Resources graduate.


School of Forestry and Wildlife Sciences Research Fellow John Kush was named the 2017 inductee to the Alabama Foresters’ Hall of Fame at the Southeastern Society of American Foresters Annual Meeting and Awards Banquet held in Miramar Beach, Florida.

As an Alabama resident and forestry graduate, Kush was considered for the Hall of Fame due to his outstanding contributions to forestry in Alabama over the course of his forty-year career.

A native of Illinois, Kush graduated with high honors in 1980 with a BS in Forest Science from the University of Illinois/Urban Champaign and then worked briefly as an urban forester in the city of Park Ridge, IL, a suburb of Chicago.  In 1981, Kush came to Auburn University as a graduate research assistant in the School of Forestry and Wildlife Sciences, or SFWS, where he first began to work with southern forest ecosystems.

Upon graduating with his MS in forestry he transitioned to a research associate position within the SFWS where he would eventually become the data collection and analysis team lead for the USDA Forest Service’s Regional Longleaf Pine Growth Study, activities he would continue to oversee for more than 30 years.

Later, after earning his Ph.D. in forest ecology from Auburn in 2002, Kush became a research fellow, where he has continued his work with longleaf pine, fire and other aspects of southern forest management.

Among his many achievements, Kush has published four book chapters, produced over 30 referred journal articles, and provided countless abstracts, presentations and posters.

“Dr. Kush has begun to reach beyond his work with longleaf pine to focus on shortleaf pine and oak systems, and restoration ecology,” noted John McGuire, a former colleague and senior project manager with Westervelt Ecological Services.

Kush is a senior ecologist with the Ecological Society of America, a position which speaks to his desire to bridge the gap between the disparate fields of classic ecology and forestry. “This bridge IS the future of Alabama Forestry and Dr. Kush is leading the charge across it,” said McGuire.

Character, integrity and contributions to the community in which the forester resides are also considered by the organization’s awards sub-committee.

Kush’s work has involved outreach education where he has organized and participated in many landowner and youth field days and workshops such as Ag Discovery Day, Science Olympiad (leaf and tree event organizer), and Escambia Experimental Forest Anniversary field days.

Throughout his career, Kush has invested significant time and energy to cultivating the next generation of foresters. Since he began instructing classes with the SFWS in 2002, Kush has taught Silviculture, Forestry Summer Practicum, Forest Measurements I, Forest Stand Dynamics, Forest Ecology, and Longleaf Pine Ecology, Management, and Restoration. Most recently he has co-led the implementation of the SFWS’ first online professional certification course in Restoration Ecology that will begin enrollment this fall.

Known for his infectious passion and intimate knowledge of Alabama forestry resources, qualities that have endeared him to many students over the years; Kush has been awarded Forestry Teacher of the Year multiple times, including 2012, 2014, and 2015.

Kush was also recently awarded the Auburn University 2017 Spirit of Sustainability Award which recognizes the accomplishments of students, faculty, staff and alumni who “exemplify the Auburn spirit by making significant contributions toward sustainability on campus or in the community.”

To be inducted in the Alabama Foresters’ Hall of Fame, a nominee must receive unanimous approval of the Alabama Foresters’ Hall of Fame Award Sub-committee members.

“For many in my field, Dr. Kush’s name is synonymous with longleaf pine ecology and history will equate Dr. Kush with advancing the silvics of longleaf pine,” said McGuire. “His work has increased our understanding of longleaf pine growth and yield, longleaf pine old-growth dynamics, fire ecology and restoration.”

Inductees’ biographical sketch and portrait are enshrined within the Archives of the Ralph Brown Draughon Library at Auburn University, and engraved with the names of all inductees, by year of induction, within the Alabama Foresters’ Hall of Fame plaque that is permanently displayed at the Auburn University School of Forestry and Wildlife Sciences.

“Dr. Kush is the embodiment of the servant leader that will make his name plate shine bright with the others on the Hall of Fame for the Society of American Foresters,” said McGuire.


SFWS honors faculty, staff and students during recent awards celebration


Forestry Club Outstanding Faculty Awardee, Dr. Tom Gallagher (center), shown with current Forestry Club members during recent SFWS Awards Celebration and Dinner held in Auburn.

The School of Forestry and Wildlife Sciences recently honored its faculty, staff and students at its annual Spring Student Awards Celebration and Dinner. Over 150 students, their families, friends and donors joined the faculty and staff to congratulate the awardees.

Through the generosity of SFWS alumni and friends, nearly 20 awards were given to students totaling over $20,000. Student award recipients included:

  • Annual Academic Improvement Award presented by Dr. Jim Shepard to Logan Bailey
  • Weyerhaeuser Forest Economics Award presented by Weyerhaeuser Harvest and Transportation Manager for the Piedmont Region, Brad Murfee ’04, to Kyle Malone
  • Association of Consulting Foresters Senior Leadership Award presented by Alexander McCall ’93, executive vice president of Larson and McGowin LLC, to Andrew Burns
  • Alabama Division, Southeastern Society of American Foresters Leadership Travel Award presented by Chair Elect, Clint Mancil, to Zachary Slay
  • Alabama Forest Owners Association Award presented by AFOA President, Ben Black, to Zachary Slay and Andrew Metzeler
  • Alabama Division, Society of American Foresters Junior Leadership Award presented by Dr. Edward Loewenstein to Christopher Hays
  • William Allen Carey Memorial Award in Forest Pathology presented by Associate Dean of Academic Affairs, Dr. Scott Enebak, to Christopher Turner
  • Armistead and Woody Family Military Service Award presented by Gordon Armistead ’74 and LTC Leonard “Chip” Woody ’74 to Alisia Diamond
  • F & W Forestry Services Incorporated Rising Senior Award presented by TR Clark to Kiel Sweatt and John Cooper
  • James R. Taylor Endowed Scholarship Award presented by Dr. Tom Gallagher to Reece Ousley
  • Summer Practicum Endowed Scholarship also presented by Dr. Tom Gallagher to Daniel Bowman
  • The Alabama Wildlife Federation Robert G. Wehle Non-Game Management Annual Award presented by Past President of the Alabama Wildlife Federation, Frank Boyd, to Kirsten Rice
  • The Alabama Wildlife Federation David K. Nelson Game Management Award also presented by Frank Boyd to Seth Rankins
  • Alabama Chapter of the Wildlife Society Student Leadership Award presented by Assistant Chief of Wildlife Research, Alabama Department of Conservation and Natural Resources, Amy Silvano, to Shannon Lambert
  • Westervelt Rising Senior Award in Wildlife presented by Westervelt Associate Biologist, Rachel Conley ’15, to Alisia Diamond
  • Research Open House Poster Awards presented by Association Dean of Research, Dr. Graeme Lockaby, to the following: 4th place winners, Anna Tucker, Ellary Tucker Williams, and Michael Ramirez; 3rd place winner, John Lancaster; 2nd place winner, Shelby Zikeli; 1st place winners, Jennifer Price Tack and John Draper
  • Student Government Association Outstanding Student Award also presented by Dr. Scott Enebak to Marisa Pierluisi
  • President’s Award presented by Dean Janaki Alavalapati to Chara Wood
  • Forestry Club Outstanding Member awarded to Zachary Slay
  • Forestry Club Outstanding Forestry Faculty awarded to Dr. Tom Gallagher
  • Wildlife Society Outstanding Student Member awarded to Seth Rankins
  • Wildlife Society Outstanding Wildlife Faculty awarded to Dr. Sarah Zohdy

A number of SFWS faculty and staff were recognized for their outstanding efforts in the classroom, laboratory, advising and outreach last year.

  • SGA Honors Ceremony Outstanding Faculty Award presented to Dr. Becky Barlow
  • Harry Murphy Faculty Award for Undergraduate Advising presented to Dr. Mark Smith
  • Harold E. Christen Award for Service to Teaching presented to Dr. Chris Lepczyk
  • Harry Murphy Faculty Research Award presented to Dr. Lisa Samuelson
  • Harry Murphy Faculty Outreach Award presented to Dr. Mark Smith
  • Harry Murphy Outstanding Staff Award presented to Paula Davis

SFWS Associate Dean of Academic Affairs, Dr. Scott Enebak, echoed the sentiments of the faculty and staff, “We are extremely proud of our students’ hard work and commitment to their studies, as well as their leadership preparation for future careers in natural resources, wildlife and forestry.”

Many SFWS donors, alumni and friends attended the awards banquet to personally meet and present their awards to recipients, including Gordon Armistead ’74 and LTC Leonard “Chip” Woody ’74, who presented the Armistead and Woody Family Military Service Award. Also in attendance was Larson and McGowin LLC, Executive Vice President, Alexander McCall ‘93, who attended the banquet for the first time this year to present the Association of Consulting Foresters Senior Leadership Award.

Student awards are distributed annually and selected based on criteria outlined within the established funding agreements. Nominations for outstanding alumni are requested from the SFWS alumni and faculty throughout the year with final selection by the Alumni Awards Committee.

For more information about SFWS awards or to create a new award in the School, contact SFWS Office of Development at or via phone at 334-844-1983.

Photos of awardees can be found on Flikr website.



SFWS students participate in Auburn’s This is Research: Student Symposium


School of Forestry and Wildlife Sciences undergraduate and graduate students recently participated in the Auburn University This is Research: Student Symposium held at the Auburn University Student Center on April 13. The event provides a venue for graduate and undergraduate students from Auburn University and Auburn University at Montgomery to present research and creative projects to the broader academic community. Students from all disciplines are invited to present their current and recent academic work, showcasing the diversity of topics, approaches, and interests at Auburn University.

Maria Iglesias

Graduate student, Maria Iglesias (Maj. Prof. Maria Soledad Peresin), with her poster titled, Residual lignin and its effect on the rheological properties cellulose nanofibrils suspensions.

The symposium includes a mentor recognition luncheon, judging of students’ presentations and opportunities for prospective students and potential employers to view and discuss the students’ research. An awards ceremony is held one week following the symposium. Presentations and posters are judged in the categories of STEM (science, technology, engineering and mathematics) and Social Science/Creative Scholarship in Design, Arts and Humanities. First through third place awards are given with graduate awards ranging from $250 to $750 and undergraduate from $50 to $125.

The following students gave oral presentations and participated in the poster sessions.

Graduate Student Oral Research Presentations:

  • Daniel, Marissa Jo (Maj. Prof. Tom Gallagher) – Utilization of phone app technology to record log truck movements
  • Xu, Yecheng (Maj. Profs. Yaoqi Zhang and Mathew Smidt) – New mobility to sustainability: Herder and animal husbandry
  • Devkota, Pratima  (Maj. Prof. Lori Eckhardt) – Induced systemic resistance of Pinus taeda  to Leptographium terebrantis and
    Grosmannia huntii  by plant growth- promoting rhizobacteria
  • Cole, Andrea (Maj. Prof. Lori Eckhardt) – Competitiveness of Amylostereum spp. fungi against Leptographium spp. fungi
  • Haines, Angelina (Maj. Prof. Robert Gitzen) – Factors influencing fire ant prevalence and nest predation on grassland birds in a fire-mediated ecosystem
  • Sharma Dangal, Shree Ram (Maj. Prof. Hanqin Tian) – Global impacts of grazing on vegetation and soil organic carbon during 1901-2010: A process-based modelling study
  • Lewis, Alexandra (Maj. Prof. Steve Ditchkoff) – Beavers are engineers; trees are not: The dam truth

Undergraduate Student Oral Research Presentations:

  • Lambert, Shannon (Adv. Prof. Mark Smith) –  Evaluation of scents for baiting wild pigs
  • Broadhead, Jordan (Adv. Prof. Sarah Zohdy) – Does community conservation improve human and wildlife health?
  • Rankins, Seth  (Adv. Prof. Steve Ditchkoff) – High prevalence of Anaplasma platys infection in Alabama white -tailed deer

Graduate Student Poster Presentations:

  • Iglesias, Maria (Maj. Prof. Maria Soledad Peresin) – Residual lignin and its effect on the rheological properties cellulose nanofibrils suspensions
  • Tormanen, Aaron (Maj. Prof. Sarah Zohdy) – A cost-effective method for canine heartworm surveillance
  • Xu, Rongting (Maj. Prof. Hanqin Tian) – Global ammonia emissions from synthetic nitrogen fertilizer applications in agricultural systems: empirical and process-based estimates and uncertainty
  • Daniel, Marissa Jo (Maj. Prof. Tom Gallagher) – Utilization of Phone App Technology to Record Log Truck Movements
  • Zikeli, Shelby (Maj. Prof. Sarah Zohdy) – A methods comparison of ectoparasite quantification in white tailed deer (Odocoileus virginianus)
  • Sanchez Diaz, Simon (Maj. Prof. Maria Soledad Peresin) – Morphological study of the electrospinning process parameters over the structure of silk fibroin nonwoven performed at low concentrated solutions
  • Gonnerman, Matthew (Maj. Prof. James Grand) – Estimating occupancy, density, and productivity of eastern wild turkeys in Alabama
  • Mensah, John (Maj. Prof. Lori Eckhardt) – Effect of Leptographium terrebrantis on tree physiology and growth of loblolly pine
  • Zenas, Stephen  (Maj. Prof. James Grand) – Factors influencing survival and capture-related morality of Eastern wild turkeys in Alabama
  • Duwadi, Sharijana  (Maj. Prof. Lori Eckhardt) – Study of soil microbial biomass and soil moisture in loblolly pine stand

Undergraduate Student Poster Presentations:

  • Finney, Micaela (Adv. Prof. Sarah Zohdy) – Feeding preferences of malaria vectors in Madagascar
  • Kallenberg, Marie Christine – Change in the lipid transport capacity of the liver and blood during reproduction in rats
  • Long, Brandon (Adv. Prof. Robert Gitzen) – A shell of a good time: quantifying box turtle detection probability in an urban landscape
  • Miller, Madison (Adv. Prof. Christopher Lepczyk) – Assessing the economic costs of managing invasive species across the United States
  • Baxter, Tyler (Adv. Prof. Becky Barlow) – Evaluating the effectiveness of prescribed fire to restore longleaf-slash pine ecosystems

Student awards were presented during a ceremony hosted by Auburn’s Office of the Vice President for Research and Economic Development on April 20, where former SFWS doctoral student, Hamed Majidzadeh, gave the keynote presentation.

Photos from the presentations are available on Flikr.

To review the entire program schedule, visit:


Review the complete list of 2017 This Is Research: Student Symposium awardees.



Auburn to launch new geospatial and environmental informatics bachelor’s degree

geospatial and environmental informatics degree, launches in fall 2017Auburn University will begin offering a new geospatial and environmental informatics, or GSEI, undergraduate degree this fall within the School of Forestry and Wildlife Sciences.

The degree program will be collaboratively taught by faculty from the School of Forestry and Wildlife Sciences and the Colleges of Agriculture, Sciences and Mathematics, Engineering and Business.

Geospatial technology refers to all of the software applications that are used to acquire, manipulate and store geographic information. Technologies such as geographic information systems, the global positioning system, satellite-based remote sensing and computer simulations are tools commonly used by all sectors of the economy for planning and decision-making.

Industry and government are increasingly reliant on geospatial technologies to manage the interface between human activity and the environment. These technologies are also employed for business purposes to forecast and analyze potential markets for retail and development.

With its diverse applications, the geographic information system industry is expected to experience continuous growth in the United States, requiring the number of geospatial workers to increase from its current 850,000 nationwide to around 1.2 million by 2018, according to GeoTech, a nonprofit coalition of educational institutions that supports geospatial technology education.

“GSEI graduates can anticipate a wide variety of career opportunities as planners, analysts, consultants, resource managers or developers within public agencies and government, private corporations, consulting firms, non-governmental and other international organizations,” said Janaki Alavalapati, dean of the School of Forestry and Wildlife Sciences.

The degree program is designed to provide students rigorous training in fundamental theories, concepts, quantitative tools, analytical technologies and research skills that are used to acquire spatially referenced information and to analyze spatial processes.

Scott Enebak, associate dean of academic affairs for the School of Forestry and Wildlife Sciences, said, “This interdisciplinary approach brings together information technology, spatial science, data analysis, natural resources and ecological modeling that enable us to apply science and new technologies toward the sustainable management of the natural world and the efficient use of resources.”

New faculty members Shufen Pan and Sanjiv Kumar, hired within the School of Forestry and Wildlife Sciences as part of Auburn’s Strategic Cluster Hire Initiative in Climate, Human and Earth System Sciences, will contribute their expertise to the degree curriculum.

The degree program has been aligned with the interdisciplinary Science, Technology, Engineering and Math, or STEM, program of the National Science Foundation designed to enhance knowledge across multiple fields including ecology, agriculture, geosciences, climate science and civil engineering. This approach prepares students to be successful and competitive in this diverse and rapidly growing job market.

The new geospatial and environmental informatics bachelor’s degree was approved by the Alabama Commission on Higher Education in March and is available for fall 2017 student enrollment. For more information about the degree, go to or contact the School of Forestry and Wildlife Sciences Office of Student Services at

Young alumni giving society, the Compass Circle, meets for first Dean’s round-table and barbecue

Auburn University School of Forestry and Wildlife Sciences recently hosted its new young alumni giving society, the Compass Circle, for an update and round table discussion with SFWS Dean, Janaki Alavalapati. Later that day, alumni gathered with upcoming graduates, faculty and staff for a barbecue at the Mary Olive Thomas Demonstration Forest.

The Compass Circle is a new giving society launched in 2016 that provides an opportunity for alumni to re-connect and support the school during the first 15 years after graduation. The society offers alumni convenient giving levels and options where donations can be made in monthly increments or annually.

“My wife Carolyn and I joined the CC because we want to support the scholarships and unparalleled education within the school. As a forester, I feel it is vital to support the future generations of our natural resource professionals. With three levels of giving and monthly payment options, there are opportunities for all young alumni to give back,” noted Russell C. Miller ‘11.

To become a member, contact Sharon Tatum, SFWS development coordinator, at or visit the SFWS website to learn more.

Auburn Professor Graeme Lockaby to present prestigious William H. Patrick Lectureship at international meeting of soil scientists

School of Forestry and Wildlife Sciences Professor Graeme Lockaby will present the William H. Patrick Memorial Lectureship at the 2017 International Annual Meetings of the American Society of Agronomy, Crop Science Society of America and Soil Science Society of America in October at Tampa, Florida.

Graeme Lockaby, a professor in Auburn University’s School of Forestry and Wildlife Sciences, will present the William H. Patrick Memorial Lectureship at the 2017 international annual meetings of the American Society of Agronomy, Crop Science Society of America and Soil Science Society of America in October in Tampa, Florida.

Lockaby is Clinton McClure Professor of Forest Biochemistry and Environmental Health and associate dean of research at the School of Forestry and Wildlife Sciences at Auburn University. He also serves as director of the Center for Environmental Studies at the Urban-Rural Interface.

The memorial lectureship was established in honor of Patrick, a pioneer of wetland soils research, to recognize a distinguished scientist who has made significant contributions to some aspect of wetland soils.

The 2017 International Annual Meeting is expected to draw more than 4,000 scientists, professionals, educators and students from around the world and features hundreds of presentations on the latest research in agronomy, crop science and soil science.

This year’s theme is “Managing Global Resources for a Secure Future.” Lecturers will present their research related to the topics of biogeochemical processing and cycling of nutrients, heavy metals and pesticides in wetland soils.

Lockaby earned his bachelor’s and master’s degrees in forestry from Clemson University and his doctorate in agronomy and soils from Mississippi State University.

His research focuses on the biogeochemistry of forested floodplains, water quality and the relationships between wetlands and human health. In particular, he has studied relationships between floodplain net primary productivity and circulation of macronutrients through decomposition, litterfall, internal translocation and other pathways and has worked to clarify biogeochemical distinctions between eutrophic and oligotrophic floodplain systems.

Lockaby also investigates the influence of forest loss through urbanization on water and disease vectors for West Nile virus.

He has authored or co-authored 111 refereed journal articles and eight book chapters and has mentored 25 graduate students as major professor.

“Lockaby’s research and professional experiences fit well with this theme and the spirit of the William H. Patrick Lectureship,” stated Bruce Vasilas, Chair of the Patrick Lecturer Committee and Professor of Plant and Soil Sciences at the University of Delaware.

For more information about the international annual meetings of the American Society of Agronomy, Crop Science Society of America, and Soil Science Society of America, go to




SFWS Launches New Geospatial and Environmental Informatics Degree

School of Forestry and Wildlife Sciences names James Earl Kennamer 2017 Outstanding Alumnus

Auburn University’s School of Forestry and Wildlife Sciences recognized James Earl Kennamer as its 2017 Outstanding Alumni recipient at its Advisory Council Banquet on March 1 in Auburn. Shown from left to right, are, Gretchen VanValkenburg, Auburn’s vice president for Alumni Affairs; James Earl Kennamer, Outstanding Alumni Award recipient; Michelle Isenberg, advisory council chairperson for the School of Forestry and Wildlife Sciences; and Janaki Alavalapati, dean of the School of Forestry and Wildlife Sciences.

The Auburn University School of Forestry and Wildlife Sciences recognized James Earl Kennamer, a 1964 game management graduate and former faculty member, as the 2017 Outstanding Alumni Award recipient during a presentation at its advisory council meeting March 1 in Auburn.

Kennamer, who later earned a master’s and a doctoral degree from Mississippi State University, is part of a multigenerational family of Auburn wildlife alumni and faculty. He is the son of Earl Kennamer, Auburn’s first wildlife Extension specialist. His own son, Lee, is also a wildlife graduate of Auburn.

It has been said that Kennemar is the embodiment of the Auburn Creed. “He grew up there, went to Auburn schools, attended Auburn, served on its city council, and was lucky enough to return to teach after he earned his doctorate,” said Lee Kennamer. “He’s received many awards for his professional contributions over the years, but Auburn is where he always called home.”

Kennamer served as a member of Auburn’s faculty before accepting a position with the National Wildlife Turkey Federation in 1980. While in this role, Kennemar was instrumental in building the conservation department and formed a technical committee which became the driving force in the nationwide trap and transfer of wild turkeys, a method that helped to restore wild turkey populations across the continent.

Kennamer later served as the federation’s chief conservation officer for conservation and outreach programs and eventually headed the department for 32 years where he was responsible for coordinating its programs with state and federal agencies, private organizations and companies throughout the United States, Canada and Mexico.

Kennamer now serves as the development advisor to the federation’s CEO, where he continues to dedicate his time toward conservation through his fundraising efforts.

He has written many feature articles in Turkey Country magazine and had one of the longest running magazine columns in the outdoor industry. He has also authored over 50 scientific papers, including chapters in four books.

Kennamer has been involved with the federation’s television shows “Turkey Call” and “Get in the Game.” He is a professional member of the Boone and Crockett Club and at one time co-chaired the North American’s Hunting Heritage Steering Committee representing the United States.

The School of Forestry and Wildlife Sciences recognizes outstanding alumni annually. Award recipients must be graduates of the school, have careers that demonstrate a history of outstanding contributions to forestry or wildlife sciences within the state, nationally or internationally and must exhibit exemplary character and integrity.

Among the many honors and awards bestowed in recognition of his lifetime contributions to wildlife conservation, Kennamer has been recognized by the Association of Fish and Wildlife Agencies, The Wildlife Management Institute and various sections and divisions of The Wildlife Society.

In 2010, Kennamer was appointed to the Collaborative Forest Landscape Restoration Program Advisory Panel by Tom Vilsack, the 30th secretary of the U.S. Department of Agriculture.

In 2011, he was recognized by the USDA Forest Service for his exemplary leadership at the National Wild Turkey Federation with the Forest Restoration Award.

At the National Wildlife Turkey Federation 2016 National Convention in Nashville, the federation’s board of directors awarded Kennamer its first Lifetime Achievement Award and will now bestow its annual national scholarship in his honor.

During the March award presentation in Auburn, Kennamar said, “I was able to fulfill my lifelong dream of working with turkeys, and I have been able to do that with the rank and file in this country, with astronauts, with politicians, and see and do things that I never would have imagined, if I hadn’t made that decision,” said Kennamar. “Leaving [Auburn] was a hard thing to do, but coming back is special…I have come full circle.”

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