INTERNATIONAL FALLS, MN: National Park Service Wildlife Biologist Dr. Steve Windels was recently honored with the 2023 Distinguished Moose Biologist Award at the 55th North American Moose Conference and Workshop held May 22-26, 2023, in Grand Portage, Minnesota. The Distinguished Moose Biologist Award was established to honor “the outstanding contribution of an individual to the understanding and management of moose” in North America and Eurasia. Windels is the thirty-ninth person to receive this honor since the award was established in 1981, and the sixth from Minnesota.
Windels first started working with moose in 1994 as an undergraduate research technician working for parts of three seasons with the University of Minnesota’s Dr. Peter Jordan on a long-term study of moose foraging ecology at Isle Royale National Park. He continued his interest in foraging ecology of large mammals during Masters thesis research on white-tailed deer in northern Mexico and again for his Ph.D. research on deer and moose browsing in the Western Great Lakes states. He has worked as a Wildlife Biologist at Voyageurs National Park since 2003, where he has studied many components of the southern boreal forest ecosystem including beavers, muskrats, gray wolves, and bald eagles in addition to the iconic moose. He started a long-term research and monitoring program for the park’s moose population in 2009, which included capturing and monitoring 23 adult moose with GPS collars to understand moose behavioral responses to climate change in the park. He co-supervised two Masters students working on moose-related research and served on the thesis committees of five graduate and undergraduate student projects related to moose in Minnesota and Ontario. He authored / co-authored ten peer-reviewed articles and eight technical reports on moose ecology and conservation and has given many scientific and public presentations on the topics as well. He has been an Associate Editor of Alces, a scientific journal devoted to the biology and management of moose, since 2015, and he served as a Co-Chair of the organizing committee for three North American Moose Conferences and Workshops (45th, 54th, and 55th).
“It’s very humbling to share this award with so many moose biologists that I have admired for so long, including many that I now consider close friends and colleagues,” said Windels. “In particular, I’m honored to share this award with one of my mentors and a previous award recipient, Dr. Peter Jordan, who first introduced me to moose ecology and management at Isle Royale National Park almost 30 years ago! Those early experiences in the field with him set me on a professional path that I’m still following today.”
More information about the award and a history of winners can be found on the Alces Journal website: www.alcesjournal.org/index.php/alces/dmb .