SFWS Professor Receives Governor’s Conservation Award

GCAA Banquet

Shown from left to right with Dr. Jim Armstrong (second from left), are award presenters, Horace Horn, AWF President and also with PowerSouth Energy, Commissioner Gunter Guy, and Matt Bowden with Alabama Power Company. Photo courtesy of AWF.


School of Forestry and Wildlife Sciences Professor and Extension Wildlife Specialist with the Alabama Cooperative Extension System, Dr. Jim Armstrong, recently received the prestigious Conservation Communicator of the Year award at the 2015 Alabama Wildlife Federation Governor’s Conservation Achievement Awards banquet held on Friday, August 7, in Prattville, Alabama.

The Alabama Wildlife Federation, established by sportsmen in 1935, is the state’s oldest and largest citizens’ conservation organization. Awarded for over 40 years, the Governor’s Conservation Achievement Awards are one of the most respected conservation honors granted in the state which recognizes individuals and organizations who promote and exemplify leadership of wildlife and natural resources conservation.

According to the federation, the program is designed to bring about a greater knowledge and awareness of conservation practices and projects, and to give proper recognition to those persons and organizations that make outstanding contributions to the natural resource welfare of the community and the state. Of this award, Armstrong stated, “It was nice to receive the award and be recognized by others who are involved in managing our natural resources.”

Dr. Armstrong was chosen as Conservation Communicator of the Year for his career-long contributions toward wildlife management. As chairman of the Wildlife Society’s Wildlife Damage Management Working Group, Armstrong’s efforts contributed to the pioneer of the emerging discipline of wildlife damage management associated with urban spillover into wildlife habitats.

He is also recognized for his contributions towards the Wildlife Habitat Evaluation Program (WHEP), a state and nationally implemented training program designed to help youth to develop decision-making skills through the practice of wildlife management.

Armstrong’s service with the Planning Committee for the Berryman Wildlife Institute, whose mission is to “promote and fund research and education activities associated with wildlife damage management” was also noted by the AWF. As a professor, Dr. Armstrong’s leadership of graduate level research has focused on the development of wildlife management strategies to address the detrimental effects of coyote population expansion.

In addition to Armstrong’s service and research interests, his role within the Alabama Cooperative Extension System has enabled him to extend immeasurable benefits to Alabamians and effectively communicate the Alabama Wildlife Federation’s conservation message to the general public. [Read more…]

Auburn Oaks Descendants Available for Naming


Redevelopment of Samford Park began last fall as Auburn University prepared for the dedication of the new Auburn Oaks during A-Day weekend and continued through the summer to ready the park for the next chapter in the Auburn Oaks story.

A new 14-foot-wide arching brick walkway now reaching from Toomer’s Corner to Samford Hall marks the initial stage of Phase II of the Samford Park redevelopment project. As part of this effort, 21 descendants of the original Auburn Oaks will line the new walkway. Individuals, families, companies, and foundations can name one of these trees for themselves or someone of their choosing in recognition of a $50,000 philanthropic gift to Auburn.

These gifts will go into an endowed fund for excellence benefitting the School of Forestry and Wildlife Sciences, which has nurtured these Auburn Oaks descendants since collecting the acorns. Specifically the fund for excellence will provide support for new scholarships; expand faculty members’ instructional, research, and outreach efforts; and enhance the various programs that provide students with the knowledge and hands-on experience they need to be successful in their chosen careers.

Dr. Scott Enebak, a faculty member in the School of Forestry and Wildlife Sciences, initiated a program in 2001 to ensure the Auburn Oaks’ legacy endures for generations to come. Under his leadership, Forestry Club and Wildlife Society members cultivated acorns from the original trees and sold more than 3,600 “Baby Auburn Oaks” to alumni and friends around the country. News in 2011 of the lethal poisoning of the original Auburn Oaks exhausted all but a select supply of these trees, which had been reserved for the Samford Park project.

These Auburn Oaks at Samford Park, which now stand between 15 and 20 feet tall, will be planted in February 2016 and dedicated at public ceremony scheduled later in the year. An engraved brass plaque placed near the base of each tree and commemorating the generosity behind each naming gift will bear the name or names of the donor’s choosing.

Limited opportunities remain to part of the Auburn Oaks legacy through a gift supporting students, faculty, and programs. For more information, please contact Heather Crozier at vannhea@auburn.edu or by phone at (334) 844-2791, or visit www.auburn.edu/samfordoaks.

130409 TC Mid View Perspective



The SFWS Awards Over One Quarter Million in Student Scholarships for the 2015-2016 Year


Shown in the photo from left to right, back to front: Patti Moultrie, Dan Moultrie, Aubie, Student recipient – Zach Slay, Chuck Sykes – ADCNR, Director of Wildlife and Freshwater Fisheries, Commissioner Gunter Guy

The School of Forestry and Wildlife Sciences (SFWS) recently hosted its 2015 Student Scholarship & Fellowship Ceremony and Reception on Saturday, August 22. One hundred and seventy donors, alumni, students, parents, faculty, and staff were present for the annual ceremony to honor the benefactors and students receiving awards for the 2015-2016 academic year. Heather Crozier, Development Director for the School, stated, “We are fortunate to have so many generous donors who are willing to support the educational pursuits of our students. Today we gratefully recognize the impact that legacy is having in our School and the lives of these young people.”

Gathered in the School’s conference hall, the ceremony opened with remarks from Dr. Scott Enebak, Associate Dean for Academic Affairs and a pre-recorded address from Dean Alavalapati. On behalf of the scholarship recipients, SFWS students Brandon Loomis, Vick Fellow, and Matt George, President of the Wildlife Society and Undergraduate Research Fellow; thanked the SFWS scholarship benefactors for their generous contributions which have allowed so many of the School’s students to achieve their academic goals.

For many donors, participating in the ceremony provided connection to the next generation of students and a platform to honor industry leaders. Chairman and President of the Alabama Conservation and Natural Resources Foundation, N. Gunter Guy, presented the inaugural wildlife scholarship from the Dan Moultrie Fund for Excellence to Zachary Slay, a natural resources management sophomore from Five Points, Alabama. Commissioner Guy stated about the fund, “I am very pleased that the Foundation can join with Auburn University through this scholarship to recognize the conservation achievements of Dan Moultrie to the State of Alabama. This scholarship will enable young people to pursue educational goals and careers that will help to conserve, enhance and ensure the sustainable benefit of Alabama’s rich natural resources.”

Among those students awarded scholarships, Luke Carlson, of Pike Road, Alabama and recipient of the Burgin Companies’ Endowed Scholarship in Forestry, stated, “The support from the Auburn donors is unparalleled. I would not have had near the same experience these past four years had it not been for the generosity of our donors here at the School of Forestry and Wildlife Sciences.”

Luke had the unique opportunity to personally thank Robert Burgin for his endowed scholarship, stating of the interaction; “They not only spent time getting to know me and my family, but Mr. Burgin offered to take me on two separate trips this upcoming semester to hear speakers talk on current issues in the forestry industry and to hear more of his story at his own farm. He is also going to check in to make sure I am keeping up my grades.” Like Luke, many of the students echoed sentiments of gratitude and meaning for having met the donors who have had such an influence on their college experience.

For many students, receiving a graduate fellowship has provided inspiration to pursue doctoral studies. Charles Pell, a master’s forestry student and recipient of the Lyle C. Tom Endowed Graduate award, is considering pursuing a PhD in forestry with a focus on ecophysiology with plans to return to the Northwest. According to Pell, receiving his award from Lyle’s widow, Mrs. Suzanne Tom, was a great honor and he looks forward to applying the knowledge and skills gained at Auburn University to his career in the forestry industry.

Among the awards, many of the scholarships were presented for the first time this year, including the Weyerhaeuser Giving Fund/Jim Leist Memorial Endowed Scholarship, created in memory of longtime employee, Jim Leist, a 1982 graduate in Forest Engineering from Auburn University, and made possible by a bridge gift from Cherie Leist, Jim’s widow. A registered forester in three states, Jim served as Director for Southern Timberlands and was a member of many boards and associations. The endowed scholarship was presented to Kyle A. Malone of Springville, Alabama, a sophomore forestry student.

The School of Forestry and Wildlife Sciences awarded more than 80 scholarships and fellowships, totaling nearly $270,000, to students pursuing degrees in forestry, wildlife sciences, and natural resources management for the 2015/2016 academic year. States Dr. Jodie Kenney, SFWS Director of Student Services, “We truly have a wealth of opportunity available for our students who apply a focused effort toward their studies. This level of support proves that finances needn’t be a barrier to success.”





SFWS Welcomes New and Returning Students at Fall Ice Breaker

Fall IceBreaker - Group Shot2Last evening SFWS Student Services sponsored its annual Fall Ice Breaker at the Mary Olive Thomas Demonstration Forest. The students enjoyed a cookout, lawn games and the opportunity to meet SFWS Dean, Dr. Janaki Alavalapati and Associate Deans of Research and Academic Affairs, Drs. Graeme Lockaby and Scott Enebak; as well as many other faculty and staff who came to welcome new and returning students.

Have a great year all! We are proud to have you with the SFWS!




The Westervelt Company Hosts Alumni Luncheon to Introduce SFWS Dean Alavalapati

IMG_2073The Westervelt Company recently hosted a luncheon to introduce the School of Forestry and Wildlife Sciences, Dean Alavalapati to their alumni executives and employees. Shown here next to Westervelt’s first paper machine, are Brian Via, SFWS faculty member; Westervelt’s Vice President of Natural Resources, Jim King; Dean Alavalapati; and Brandon Loomis, an Army veteran and recipient of the Vick Fellowship. Brandon is a graduate student with Auburn’s Master of Natural Resources-Professional Forester degree in the School of Forestry and Wildlife Sciences and was recently featured within the AU Student Spotlight. Read more about Brandon at http://develop.auburn.edu/…/student-spotlight-brandon-loom…/

Thank you, Westervelt Company for your support and hospitality!





Sustainability Picnic Rescheduled for Wednesday, August 26 at 4:00 p.m.


Visit with SFWS faculty and staff to learn more about the Auburn University School of Forestry and Wildlife’s Natural Resources Management major and minor degree programs at the Sustainability Picnic, rescheduled for Wednesday, August 26, 2015 at 4:00 p.m. at the Davis Arboretum.

SFWS to Host Its Annual Homecoming Barbecue

Homecoming BBQ Invite

The School of Forestry and Wildlife Sciences will host its annual Homecoming Barbecue on Saturday, October 3, 2015.

Students, parents, alumni and donors are invited to join Dean Alavalapati, faculty and staff for this game day tradition to be held at the A. Kent Van Cleave Pavilion beginning at 12:00 p.m. Barbecue, refreshments and music will be provided!

Alumni and friends will enjoy live animal encounters with the Kreher Preserve & Nature Center’s  Critter Caravan, as well game day face painting, and a round of tailgate toss. Student club members will also be manning a photo booth for our guests to capture their Homecoming memories!


Former SFWS Graduate Student Receives National Award

 KBanger Tian Graduation


Kamaljit Banger, a former Auburn University School of Forestry and Wildlife Sciences PhD candidate with the International Center for Climate and Global Change Research (ICCGCR), was recently chosen as Outstanding Graduate Student by the Ecological Society of America, Asian Ecological Section. He was presented this prestigious national award at the 100th annual meeting of Ecological Society of America, held in Baltimore, Maryland, August 10-14, 2015.

Established in 1915, the Ecological Society of America (ESA) is the world’s largest organization of professional ecologists which exists to promote and raise awareness of the importance of ecological science, while increasing availability of resources to conduct science, and to ensure the appropriate use of science in environmental decision making. The ESA’s Asian Ecology Section created the graduate student award to promote the recognition of young ecologists who contribute substantially to Asian ecological research development.

At Auburn University, Banger applied process-based modeling approaches to investigate how multiple environmental alterations especially changing climate, rising carbon dioxide concentration, air pollution, and land management can affect terrestrial biogeochemical cycles in tropical Asia.

According to the ESA award nomination, “By combining the remote sensing datasets from an Indian satellite (Resourcesat-1) with several inventory land use records, he generated the land use and land cover data for India during 1880–2010. He also contributed significantly to the Ecosystem Dynamic and Global Change Ecology Laboratory’s (EDGE) effort to couple phosphorus with carbon, nitrogen, and hydrological cycles in the modeling framework of the Dynamic Land Ecosystem Model.”

Banger’s research advisor, Solon and Martha Dixon Professor and Director of the ICCGCR, Dr. Hanqin Tian states, “To the best of my knowledge, Kamaljit Banger’s work is the first to examine impacts of multiple global environmental changes on terrestrial net primary production and greenhouse gas emissions in India. During his tenure with the PhD program in the School of Forestry and Wildlife Sciences at Auburn University, Kamaljit authored or co-authored 12 peer-reviewed research articles published in prestigious journals such as Global Change Biology, Climatic Change, Global Biogeochemical Cycles, and Soil Science Society of America Journal.” Tian further states, “This award from ESA is a national recognition of his achievements and a testimony to the SFWS graduate program.”

Among other honors, Kamiljit also received the 2015 Merriwether Fellowship Award from Auburn University, given to the top four outstanding PhD students among all departments at Auburn University.

Says Banger of his time at Auburn University, “I really enjoyed working in the best ecosystem modeling lab in the United States as well as within the supporting environment of SFWS.”

Currently, Dr. Banger works as a Postdoctoral Research Associate at University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign to develop decision support tools for controlling nitrogen pollution from midwest agriculture.


Sustainability Picnic 2015 – August 19th at 4:00pm at the Arboretum #AUthrives

EDGE group published its findings on Anthropogenic and climatic controls on soil organic carbon stocks in India in the May-June 2015 issue of the Soil Science Society of America Journal.


Kamaljit Banger, Hanqin Tian, Bo Tao, Chaoqun Lu, Wei Ren and Jia Yang

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