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Extension Specialist Brian MacGowan Receives Hoosier Wildlife Award

Brian MacGowan, Purdue extension wildlife specialist, has been honored with the Hoosier Wildlife Award by the Indiana chapter of The Wildlife Society.

The Hoosier Wildlife Award is given annually to recognize an individual who has made, or is making, a significant contribution to professional wildlife conservation in Indiana through research, management, law enforcement, education or administration.

"The Hoosier Wildlife Award recognizes Brian's substantial work in the field of wildlife conservation and his dedication to the Indiana Chapter of The Wildlife Society,” said Zachary Voyles, South Region Private Lands Supervisor for the Division of Fish and Wildlife. “His contributions to wildlife research, management and higher education have helped numerous wildlife management professionals become better equipped to manage wildlife in Indiana on behalf of its citizens."

MacGowan came to Purdue in 1995 to begin work on his master’s degree in wildlife science underBrian MacGowan headshot Dr. Harmon “Mickey” Weeks. His thesis was titled “Avian responses to woodland habitats differentially impacted by deer browsing.”

After completing his master’s in 1998, he joined the Purdue Extension staff as a wildlife specialist in 1999. He acted as extension co-coordinator for Purdue FNR from 2007 to 2015 and has served as the sole coordinator since 2015. MacGowan went on to complete his PhD on “Facilitating management and decision-making on private and public forests in Indiana” under Dr. Linda Prokopy in the spring of 2021.

In his time in FNR, he has been honored with the Outstanding Professional Staff Award twice (2005, 2010). He received the Purdue Cooperative Extension Specialists’ Association (PUCESA) Leadership Award in 2021 for his leadership and contribution to the development of FNR 506 course “Theory and Application of Natural Resources Extension Programming” and the creation of the Natural Resources Extension program.

During his career, MacGowan has conducted meaningful research, teaching, and extension programming that has advanced wildlife conservation in Indiana, the Midwest, and more broadly. His contributions include:

  • Organizing over 180 workshops, seminars, and field tours related to wildlife conservation.
  • Delivering over 400 Extension presentations and 60 research presentations and posters.
  • Publishing 75 Extension publications, articles, videos, and book chapters.
  • Publishing 14 peer-reviewed research publications.

MacGowan’s impressive portfolio spans a wide variety of topics from human-wildlife conflict, wildlife damage management, reptile response to forest management, youth natural resources education, and evaluating the impact of extension scholarship. He has been honored for his extension programs and deliverables throughout his career. He won the Agricultural Communications in Education Gold Award twice: for electronic publications “Snakes of the Midwest” in 2005 and for website “Everything Wildlife” in 2003. He also received the Association of Natural Resources Extension Professionals (ANREP) Gold Award for mixed materials “Wildlife CSI Unraveling the Mysteries of Wildlife Crop Damage” in 2007. He also earned the ANREP Silver Award for video/DVD/CD and for web-based courses for “Wildlife CSI Unraveling the Mysteries of Wildlife Crop Damage” in 2007.

MacGowan has been a member of the Indiana Woodland Steward Editorial Board since 2007, is the editor of the Indiana Woodland Steward newsletter and has served as the project investigator for the Renewable Resources Extension Act (RREA) in Indiana. He also organizes the yearly Ohio Valley Woodlands and Wildlife Workshop, conducts professional development workshops for the Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) and other conservation partners and shares his knowledge at many extension events throughout the state.

MacGowan was instrumental in producing the Woodland Stewardship for Landowners video series. He also shared his knowledge on several editions of FNR Ask An Expert and provided instructional assistance regarding protecting plants and shrubs from wildlife, how to stop woodland animals from digging in your flowerpots, deer fencing, hummingbirds and more.

“I’m overwhelmed, especially knowing who has received this honor before me,” MacGowan said. “It’s one of the highlights of my professional career.  Working at Purdue, and really in the wildlife profession, has put me in the position to work with some outstanding individuals. You hope that you have made a difference in people’s lives during your career. I got into the wildlife profession because I loved the outdoors. But, it’s the people you work with every day that makes it special. I’m extremely appreciative and humbled by this honor.”

Previous Purdue Forestry and Natural Resources affiliated winners of the Hoosier Wildlife Award include current or emeritus faculty members Dr. Rob Swihart (2016), Dr. Harmon “Mickey” Weeks (2006) and Dr. Russell E. Mumford (1996).

The Wildlife Society is a professional organization whose membership is comprised of professional wildlife biologists, managers, and scientists.  The mission of The Wildlife Society is to inspire, empower, and enable wildlife professionals to sustain wildlife populations and habitats through science-based management and conservation.  Members are committed to the conservation of natural resources in Indiana, including its soil, water, plants, and wildlife.


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