Colorado State University Professor Named the 2011 Aldo Leopold Memorial Award Winner

Note to Reporters: A downloadable, print-quality photo of Ken Burnham is available with the news release at

The Wildlife Society’s highest honor, the Aldo Leopold Memorial Award, has been awarded to Kenneth P. Burnham, professor emeritus from the Department of Fish, Wildlife, and Conservation Biology at Colorado State University. The award recognizes individuals who have made significant contributions to wildlife conservation.

CSU’s Department of Fish, Wildlife, and Conservation Biology (FWCB) has the distinction of now having four faculty honored with this award. The others are:

  • 1973 Gustav A. Swanson, Professor Emeritus (deceased)
  • 2000 Gary C. White, Professor Emeritus
  • 2004 David R. Anderson, Professor Emeritus

Burnham and Anderson were also U.S. Geological Survey scientists in the Colorado Cooperative Fish and Wildlife Research Unit, a unit within FWCB. All have been recognized with numerous awards for their scientific and academic accomplishments, and they continue to actively enrich the profession and Department of Fish, Wildlife, and Conservation Biology.

Burnham began his career as a statistician for the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, and later as an area statistician for the USDA Agricultural Research Service in the southeast United States.

Burnham’s early research produced a wide variety of statistical methods used by ecologists around the world. These methods had a profound impact on the science behind numerous monitoring programs, including the northern spotted owl, endangered desert tortoise, endangered fish on the Colorado River, salmon passage through hydro dams on the Columbia River, and assistance in planning and conducting the 2000 U.S. Census.

Starting in 1988, and for the next 21 years, Burnham held the position of assistant unit leader for the Colorado Cooperative Fish and Wildlife Research Unit at CSU. His work led to effective insights into a broad range of biological systems in many places throughout the world.

Over his 40-year career, he has nearly 200 scientific publications, and these works have been cited more than 17,000 times by wildlife professionals, ecologists, and statisticians around the world. Ultimately, his scientific contributions have had an enormous impact on a wide range of management and research programs in numerous countries across the globe.

Aldo Leopold is considered the “father” of wildlife science and is one of the great conservationists from the first half of the 20th century. Following Leopold’s death in 1948, the Wildlife Society annually awards an individual the Aldo Leopold Memorial Award in his honor. The Wildlife Society, founded in 1937, is a professional, international, non-profit scientific and educational association dedicated to excellence in wildlife stewardship through science and education.