Wildlife Professor Jim Fraser received the 2013 Mitchell A. Byrd Award for outstanding scientific achievement from the Virginia Ornithological Society. Fraser has taught wildlife management, conservation biology, and endangered species management at Virginia Tech for 32 years. His research, student mentorship, and public outreach have aided the conservation of numerous bird species, including the bald eagle, piping plover, and red knot.

“Jim Fraser has demonstrated outstanding scientific achievement in the field of ornithology,” said Research Assistant Professor Daniel Catlin, who was advised by Fraser. “Although his work has spanned the globe, from Madagascar to India and China, from Long Island, N.Y., to southwestern California, he has consistently worked to further our understanding and conservation of species here in Virginia.”

The Virginia Ornithological Society’s annual award was established in 2011 in honor of Mitchell A. Byrd, one of the pioneers of wildlife conservation in Virginia. Although he spent his entire career at the College of William and Mary, Byrd received all three of his degrees in forestry and wildlife from Virginia Tech and is a longtime supporter of the college.

Byrd devoted much of his career to aiding the recovery of the threatened bald eagle and peregrine falcon in Virginia. He recognized the need for habitat conservation and invited Fraser to team with him in working with people around the Chesapeake Bay to protect critical habitat for the species.

“Mitchell has been a mentor and a shining example of how to blend science, education, and conservation,” Fraser said. “I can’t think of anyone who has done more for the conservation of birds in Virginia than Mitchell. If I can be half as good as he is, I will be doing all right.”