Earlier in October, NMBU’s professor emeritus Jon Swenson was awarded an Honorary Membership in The Wildlife Society (TWS) at its annual conference in Reno, Nevada, USA. Honorary Memberships are awarded to "recognize continuous outstanding service to any area of concern to The Wildlife Society by a member who is a practicing or retired wildlife professional".
TWS is the world’s oldest and largest professional organization of wildlife biologists in the world, and has awarded honorary members since 1948. Previous recipients include Frederic Walcott, Charles Elton, Paul Errington, John Craighead, and Aldo Leopold. Swenson was the only recipient in 2019.
Professor Swenson received the award for his career-long work in wildlife management and research, both in the U.S., and internationally.
“I am very grateful and humbled for the award and the recognition,” Swenson says.
“To be honest, this is a bit surreal. To feature on the same list as Leopold is a great honor.”
From Montana to Scandinavia
Swenson is from Montana, USA, received his university education in that state, and worked as a wildlife management biologist for the Montana Department of Fish, Wildlife and Parks for 10 years. In this job, he worked on management issues concerning many species, including both American black and grizzly bears. After that he earned a PhD from the University of Alberta.
In 1991 he became leader of the Scandinavian Brown Bear Research Project, a position he held alongside his professorship at NMBU until his retirement in 2018.
Integral key of bear management and conservation
Throughout the years, he has been a vital part of science-based conservation and management of bears, not just in Scandinavia, but worldwide. Working as a scientist and project leader, Swenson has contributed expertise to managers, researchers and governments on bear management and research everywhere.