October 20, 2005, Memphis, Tenn. – Ducks Unlimited’s (DU) Ken Babcock received the prestigious C.W. Watson Award from the Southeastern Association of Fish and Wildlife Agencies for a lifetime of outstanding contributions to wildlife management. The award was presented Tuesday evening in St. Louis, Mo. at the group’s annual meeting. Babcock is director of operations for DU’s Southern Regional Office in Jackson, Miss.
“They don’t come any better than Ken Babcock,” said DU’s Executive Vice President Don Young. “His successful career in wildlife management speaks for itself, and Ducks Unlimited is blessed to have a leader of his caliber.”
Babcock’s career began in 1967 as a waterfowl biologist for the Mississippi Department of Wildlife, Fisheries, and Parks. He then spent 27 years with the Missouri Department of Conservation (MDC), starting as its primary waterfowl biologist and rising to assistant director for the state wildlife agency in 1988. In leadership positions within the department, Babcock helped make MDC one of the most highly respected state wildlife agencies in the country. DU hired him to his present position in 1997.
Babcock was a catalyst and leader in developing the first long-range management plan for the Eastern Prairie Population of Canada geese. Managers of these birds in other states quickly used this plan as the basis to build their own. Even more impressively, through this work, Babcock helped develop methods and management approaches that are now commonly used for Canada geese throughout North America.
Babcock presently serves as the Mississippi Flyway’s representative on an Ad Hoc Task Force on Adaptive Harvest Management. This innovative system of duck harvest management is at a critical juncture in its relatively short history, and this task force has been instrumental in leading a national review and discussion of the system.
DU Director of Conservation Programs Scott Yaich says Babcock is the right man for the job.
“Ken Babcock is, as always, a voice of reason, objectivity and pragmatism in a discussion in which diplomacy and leadership are prerequisites for success,” Yaich said. “He has exhibited a career-long commitment to wildlife management, and the respect and admiration that the conservation community has for Ken has long been evident.”
With more than a million supporters, Ducks Unlimited is the world’s largest and most effective wetland and waterfowl conservation organization. The United States alone has lost more than half of its original wetlands − nature’s most productive ecosystem − and continues to lose more than 100,000 wetland acres each year.