Oklahoma Woman Named Biologist Of The Year By Southeastern Association Of Fish And Wildlife Agencies

OKLAHOMA (KFOR) – A wildlife biologist from Oklahoma was named 2018 Wildlife Biologist of the Year by the Southeastern Association of Fish and Wildlife Agencies (SEAFWA).

Wildlife Diversity Biologist Melynda Hickman educates a youngster about the Mexican free-tailed bat while hosting a Selman Bat Watch event. Hickman was named 2018 Biologist of the Year by the Southeastern Association of Fish and Wildlife Agencies. Photo Courtesy: KFOR Oklahoma City.

Melynda Hickman started her career with the Oklahoma Department of Wildlife Conservation 28 years ago and is the Watchable Wildlife Program leader. The department says she continues to lead several significant conservation efforts, including the Selman Bat Cave Wildlife Management Area bat watch program.

The department says she was also “a driving force in developing a state-of-the-art multipurpose educational facility at Hackberry Flat Wildlife Management Area in southwestern Oklahoma.”

“Melynda is a tireless worker, a tremendous ambassador for the ODWC and well respected among her peers and the public we serve,” said Oklahoma’s Wildlife Department Director J.D. Strong. “In a profession that’s often focused on the hook-and-bullet crowd, Melynda has a unique ability to energize folks about bats, bluebirds, butterflies and the importance of conserving ecosystems as a whole.”

SEAFWA President Chuck Sykes said Hickman was selected by her peers for her “clear dedication to promoting and conserving Oklahoma’s natural resources. Her engagement in public education events and programs establish connections with future generations that all of our state agencies and the wildlife we manage depend upon.”

Each year, SEAFWA presents Biologist of the Year Awards to two career biologists of state wildlife agencies, one each in wildlife and fisheries, who in the opinion of the SEAFWA Awards Committee have made outstanding contributions to fish and wildlife conservation.