2020 Jackson Award - Elmer Finck

The 2020 recipient of the Hartley H. T. Jackson award for service to the ASM is Elmer J. Finck. After working with the Konza Prairie program in several capacities from 1981-1989, he was on the faculty of Emporia State University as both an Assistant and Associate Professor. In 2001 he joined the faculty of Fort Hayes State University as a Full Professor and Chair of the Department of Biological Sciences. He retired in July 2019.

Elmer is a Patron Member of the ASM and has been a member of the ASM for over 43 years. He received his AS in Math degree from the College of Lake County in 1972, his BS degree in Fish and Wildlife Management from the University of North Dakota in 1974, and his MS in Biology/Plant Ecology from UND in 1979 where he studied the “Effects of oxidized coal on mine spoils and the growth and chemical composition of wheatgrasses”. He was awarded a PhD from Kansas State University in 1983, having completed a dissertation on “Male behavior, territorial quality and female choice in the dickcissel (Spiza americana).”

Elmer’s research interests are wide-ranging not only in Mammalogy, but also in Ornithology, and Wildlife Management. Studies have included northern long-eared bats, southern flying squirrels, Franklin’s ground squirrel, white-faced ibis, spotted skunk, black-tailed prairie dog, American Pronghorn, free roaming cats, waterfowl diets, and human dimensions of wildlife management just to name a few.

His professional career of over 40 years has been not only in service to the American Society of Mammalogists but also to regional, state, and local scientific communities. These include President of the Kansas Chapter of the Wildlife Society, President and Co-founder of the Central Plains Society of Mammalogists, President of the Kansas Ornithological Society, Editor of the Prairie Naturalist and the list goes on. The list of his 54 graduate students, presentations, and publications fills many pages.

Within the ASM, Elmer has accumulated at least 72 years of committee service (including the Membership Committee, Conservation Award Committee, Education and Graduate Student Committee, Mammal Images Library Committee and the Program Committee). Add to this, 6 years on the ASM Board, 24 years as Business Manager of the Mammal Slide/Image Library, was on the Local Committee for the 71st and 78th Annual Meeting, and was co-host for the 98th meeting at Kansas State University. Depending on how one totals the years of service it is probably approaching 100 years overall. Whatever the total number is, Elmer has never been just another name on a committee. Elmer wasn’t on a committee or in any other position unless he was actively involved. Much of what Elmer has done is often “behind-the-scenes”. This is typical of Jackson awardees.

While Elmer has retired from the faculty at Fort Hays State University, he continues his research activities and service to the scientific community. He was conferred the status of Professor Emeritus at FHSU in 2019. Continuing service is a hallmark of previous Hartley H. T. Jackson awardees.