Bryce Maxell, senior zoologist with the Montana Natural Heritage Program, was named Wildlife Biologist of the Year by the Montana chapter of the Wildlife Society last week at their annual meeting in Whitefish. The MTNHP is a special project of The University of Montana Office of the Vice President for Research and Creative Scholarship.
The Wildlife Society’s awards program honors professional excellence, recognizes outstanding achievement and highlights contributions to wildlife science and management. The Biologist of the Year award is presented annually for significant achievements in wildlife conservation during the five years immediately preceding the award presentation.
Since 1996, Maxell has conducted field inventories for a variety of animal species in Montana. He has written or co-written two books, a dozen peer-reviewed publications and more than 30 professional reports on amphibians, reptiles, bats, small terrestrial mammals, birds, terrestrial mollusks and fish.
"My professional goals include working with a variety of partners to provide resource managers and the general public with information on the natural history and status of Montana’s animals, plants and habitats through books, peer-reviewed publications, professional reports, web resources, educational posters and presentations so they can be more fully appreciated and properly addressed in management plans,” Maxell said.
A Montana Fish, Wildlife and Parks employee nominated Maxell for the award. Maxell’s research on Montana’s plants, animals and habitats and his extensive list of publications was highlighted in the nomination letter, as well as his collaboration with diverse state and federal agencies; private businesses and landowners; and varying interest groups, which has placed Montana at the forefront of wildlife management.
MTNHP is housed at the Montana State Library in Helena. Staff work to gather information on plants, animals and biological communities of Montana and make it available to state and federal agencies, tribes, NGOs and private consultants so they can make decisions quickly and inexpensively.
“One aspect of my job is to try to better understand the distribution and status of Montana species through fieldwork, and I have absolutely loved getting to better know those species and the entire state in general,” Maxell said. “Our ultimate goal is to have a thorough knowledge of species’ distribution and status so that Montana’s citizens can more easily appreciate what they have and so that a variety of environmental planning processes and decisions are better informed and can be made without delays because of a lack of information. It is a task that will always be in process, but I hope to contribute by raising the overall bar on the level of information that is available.”
For more information call Maxell at 406-444-3329 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.