SAULT STE. MARIE, MI – For the fourth time in 15 years, Lake Superior State University’s Fisheries and Wildlife Club earned the Outstanding Student Subunit Award from the American Fisheries Society (AFS). LSSU was singled out for top honors from among approximately 80 collegiate counterparts in North America.
“The award recognizes outstanding professionalism, active resource protection, and enhancement programs, as well as a strong commitment to the mission of the society,” AFS President Scott A. Bonar wrote in an email. “The LSSU subunit has been selected in recognition of their extensive activities and programs in many areas.”
Examples of LSSU’s superior efforts include hosting multiple fisheries technique events, professional speakers, aquatic taxonomy workshops, and k-12 outreach that help build knowledge, skills, and stewardship of natural resources, added Dr. Ashley Moerke, adviser to the LSSU Fisheries and Wildlife Club.
“This is the highest honor our students could receive in the fisheries field,” continued Dr. Moerke, the director of the Center for Freshwater Research and Education and a professor in the School of Natural Resources and Environment at LSSU. “I’m so proud of their leadership on and off campus as well as their commitment to conserving natural resources and inspiring the next generation of professionals.”
Fisheries and wildlife management majors junior Austin Heslinga, club president, and 2020 graduate Riley Waterman, past president, accepted the award on behalf of LSSU on Sept. 22 during the 2020 AFS annual meeting that is being held virtually from Sept. 14 through Sept. 25.
“The Fisheries and Wildlife Club played an important role in establishing my professional career pathway, and I, along with the rest of the officers, wanted to help provide the same experience for other students,” said Waterman, fisheries technician for Cook Inlet Aquaculture Association at Tutka Bay Lagoon Hatchery, Alaska. “We couldn’t be more proud to receive this award.”
LSSU’s Fisheries and Wildlife Club previously received the commendation in 2013, 2010, and 2009. The awards began in 2005.
LSSU President Rodney S. Hanley observed, “This accomplishment proves not only another reason why fisheries and wildlife is one of our signature programs but also that it upholds our mission to enhance the quality of life of the Great Lakes region and the world,” he said. “It is always wonderful when a professional organization confirms that our students truly are the best.”
Established in 1870, AFS is the world’s oldest and largest organization dedicated to strengthening the fisheries profession, advancing fisheries science, and conserving fisheries resources, according to its website. AFS counts 8,000-plus members worldwide and 48 chapters in North America, including approximately 80 student subunits.