Biologist given prestigious award by falconers
BY Staff Reports
Sunday, December 09, 2012
12/09/12 at 5:38 AM
Two biologists with the George Miksch Sutton Avian Research Center in Bartlesville were honored at the recent joint meeting of the International Association of Falconry and Conservation of Birds of Prey and North American Falconers' Association.
Steve Sherrod, executive director, received The Freienmuth Award, the group's highest honor.
Presented to only nine individuals in the 51-year history of the group, the award recognizes "someone who goes above and beyond the call of duty for the benefit of NAFA and/or raptors."
NAFA was founded in 1961 to encourage the proper practices in falconry and the wise use and conservation of birds of prey. The organization has about 200 members internationally.
Sherrod is an accomplished falconer and biologist who has been a NAFA member since 1974. He has bred hundreds of peregrine falcons, gyrfalcons, and hybrids of the two in captivity. In 1983, with now-retired Assistant Director Alan Jenkins, Sherrod founded the Sutton Research Center, where he has served as Executive Director since that time.
The Sutton Avian Research Center is internationally recognized and dedicated to conducting research on, education about, and conservation of wild birds.
Sherrod was significantly involved in the recovery of the then-endangered peregrine falcon during the '70s and '80s with The Peregrine Fund at Cornell University. At the Sutton Center, he dedicated years of study and research on and was a significant player in the recovery of the then-endangered bald eagle throughout the southeastern United States during the '80s and '90s.
He has conducted extensive international travels and has contributed to research on the altai falcon in Kazakhstan and peregrine falcons on the Yukon River in Alaska.
Sherrod was the founding president of the North American Grouse Partnership and is still an active board member. He has been instrumental in encouraging research and conservation of greater and lesser prairie-chickens in Oklahoma and other western states, and he serves on the federally appointed Attwater's Prairie-chicken Recovery Team.
Ryan Van Zant, lead bird trainer and educational specialist at the Sutton Center, also received recognition as he was voted to serve on the board of directors of the International Association of Avian Trainers and Educators.
Van Zant is President of the Oklahoma Falconers' Association and has spent much of his life working with birds, bird conservation and developing wildlife education programs for youth and adults.