On July 12, 2016 Dr. Brad Strobel received the 2016 Midwest Region Biologist of the Year Award while visiting the Regional Office. A highly respected scientist nationally, Strobel has led the way this past year bringing to life his vision for the Whooping Crane Eastern Partnership. This included initiating efforts at Necedah National Wildlife Refuge to both study and increase whooping crane productivity, collaborating across boundaries with the Whooping Crane Eastern Partnership Science and Research Committee.
“Congratulations to Brad on a well-deserved honor. His success reaches even beyond whooping crane efforts. He is driven to incorporate the latest science into our National Wildlife Refuge System and is recognized for his outstanding leadership as a biologist.” Regional Director Tom Melius said. “Brad is highly respected within the Service and by others across the country as he is sought after for his expertise by colleagues, partners and universities.”
At the station level, Strobel has developed a management assessment framework that integrates habitat response of management actions to help predict an expected wildlife response. It models species response to a set of habitat management actions and creates a decision making tool to prioritize actions based upon that response. This will help the refuge set strategic priorities with adaptive management decisions, and also can serve as a template for use regionwide.
Brad is also an exemplary mentor and supervisor. He works diligently to involve students, interns and biological technicians in project planning, implementation, assessment, analysis, publication and dissemination of their work.
Strobel has a B.S. from Wisconsin-Stevens Point and earned his M.S. and Ph.D. from Texas Tech University where he studied red-shouldered hawks in southern Texas. Prior to joining the staff at Necedah National Wildlife Refuge, he worked at Aransas NWR, Texas, as the lead refuge biologist. While there he worked with the Aransas-Wood Buffalo population of whooping cranes.
Strobel learned of his winning the award at his office staff meeting. “I came to our regular staff meeting and noticed people were kind of making a fuss and, I think I got some funny looks in my direction but didn’t know what was going on,” he said. “As we opened our meeting, our refuge manager Doug Staller introduced that we had Pat Heglund from the Regional Office on teleconference with us and she proceeded to say how lucky we were to have the Regional Biologist of the Year there, Brad Strobel.”
“First off, I never realized we had such an honor but even more importantly I thought, ‘what did I do?’ None of my work is done solo, you almost feel unworthy when thinking of it,” he said. “It’s great to get the award and also having read the names of other winners is humbling. It’s a great honor that is shared with my many partners who, together, we work to do our very best.”