SEAFWA names Gruchy its 2015 Wildlife Biologist of the Year
Mississippi biologist John Gruchy was recently named the 2015 Wildlife Biologist of the Year by the Southeastern Association of Fish and Wildlife Agencies (SEAFWA).
Gruchy, the private lands habitat coordinator for the Mississippi Department of Wildlife, Fisheries and Parks, was honored at the annual meeting of the group, which represents 15 states and two territories.
“John’s passion for putting wildlife habitat on the ground, technical abilities and gift for effectively working with partners have improved wildlife habitat on thousands of acres in Mississippi,” SEAFWA President Bob Ziehmer said. “He is clearly a leader in the realm of private lands conservation, a critical avenue for providing the habitat needs of wildlife held in the public trust.”
Gruchy routinely conducts more than 100 site visits each year, providing habitat management guidance for Mississippi landowners. He has been particularly influential in restoring native grasses and prescribed fire regiments to the private lands within the state’s natural prairie region. He also provides guidance for managing pine stands and hardwood forests.
MDWFP executive director Sam Polles nominated Gruchy.
“Equally important to his individual landowner assistance, John makes many public presentations on habitat management to local groups each year,” Polles said. “He has lectured at three Mississippi colleges and numerous high schools and conducted multiple landowner workshops and field days on habitat management.”
Polles also said Gruchy’s outreach work extends to other natural resource professionals. This summer, Gruchy partnered with the Mississippi Forestry Commission in a grant to teach wildlife habitat management principles to 94 state foresters. The partnership was an effort to improve private lands management recommendations within their Forest Stewardship Plans.