MEMPHIS, Tenn. - March 13, 2015 - Ducks Unlimited announced today the winners of the 2015 Wetland Conservation Achievement Awards during the 80th North American Wildlife and Natural Resources Conference held in Omaha, Neb. This year's recipient in the Research/Technical category is Dr. Gary Hepp, recently retired from Auburn University.

"Gary's contributions to waterfowl biology, ecology and management have been outstanding and are truly deserving of recognition from Ducks Unlimited," said DU Chief of Conservation Paul Schmidt. "Dr. Hepp is responsible for keeping Auburn University a destination for future leaders in waterfowl and wetlands ecology and conservation. His leadership and guidance have been instrumental in setting a solid career path for many in the natural resources field, specifically conservation of wetland habitats throughout North America."

Until his recent retirement, Dr. Hepp was a professor in the School of Forestry and Wildlife Sciences at Auburn University, where he had been on faculty since 1988. Gary's contributions to waterfowl biology, ecology and management have been numerous. In particular, his contributions to understanding the breeding biology and population ecology of the wood duck have been highly influential.

In addition to his academic research pursuits, he devoted service time through various department, university and professional committees, including the department's Scholarship Committee and 11 years as faculty advisor to the Auburn Student Chapter of The Wildlife Society. Perhaps his most lasting contribution to waterfowl management has been as mentor to more than 70 graduate students. His knowledge and expertise in waterfowl biology and population ecology made him highly sought after as an advisor, and his ability to generate funding for projects and the dedication he gives to each of his graduate students made him unique among his peers.

Many of Dr. Hepp's former students occupy key, influential positions in the waterfowl and wetland conservation community, including Waterfowl Program Leader for Tennessee Wildlife Resources Agency; Waterfowl Biologist for Texas Parks and Wildlife Department; Director of Conservation Programs for The Nature Conservancy; Coordinator of the Lower Mississippi Valley Joint Venture; Director of Conservation Programs for Ducks Unlimited; and Managing Director of Development for Ducks Unlimited.

Ducks Unlimited's Wetland Conservation Achievement Awards are presented annually in six categories to recognize individuals who have made outstanding contributions to the conservation and restoration of North America's wetlands and waterfowl. To view a complete list of the 2015 Wetland Conservation Achievement Award winners, please visit

Ducks Unlimited Inc. is the world's largest non-profit organization dedicated to conserving North America's continually disappearing waterfowl habitats. Established in 1937, Ducks Unlimited has conserved more than 13 million acres thanks to contributions from more than a million supporters across the continent. Guided by science and dedicated to program efficiency, DU works toward the vision of wetlands sufficient to fill the skies with waterfowl today, tomorrow and forever. For more information on our work, visit Connect with us on our Facebook page at, follow our tweets at and watch DU videos at

Media Contact:
Andi Cooper