Hayden Named Wildlife Biologist of the Year

David Hayden has been named 2012 Wildlife Biologist of the Year by the Southeastern Association of Fish and Wildlife Agencies (SEAFWA). Hayden currently serves as Assistant Chief of the Wildlife Section for the Alabama Division of Wildlife and Freshwater Fisheries (WFF). He received the award during SEAFWA’s annual awards banquet in Hot Springs, Ark., on October 9, 2012. 
SEAFWA Wildlife Biologist of the Year is the organization’s most prestigious award given annually to a single wildlife biologist from one of its member states.
Hayden, a 27-year WFF veteran, supervises the operations of 34 Wildlife Management Areas (WMA), two wildlife refuges, two wildlife sanctuaries, and 19 physically disabled hunter areas. Additionally, he performs numerous other duties that are required for the Wildlife Section to function smoothly, and he routinely provides guidance and direction to WFF staff members to assist them in accomplishing their duties. Hayden also serves on several regional and nation committees that advocate for Alabama’s wildlife resources.  
WFF Acting Director Fred Harders said Hayden is very deserving of this award. “David’s wealth of experience, willingness to embrace new challenges, and his vision to advance new ideas has produced an exemplary body of work during his tenure with the Division,” Harders said. “David has spent a lifetime in true service to the wildlife resources of Alabama and its citizens.”
After graduating from Northwestern Louisiana State University in 1970 with a Bachelor of Science in Wildlife Management, and Louisiana State University in 1972 with a Master of Science in Game Management, Hayden worked in private sector wildlife resource positions for 14 years prior to joining WFF.  Hayden began his career with WFF in 1986 as a State Waterfowl and Wetland Biologist. 
During his tenure as State Waterfowl Biologist, David served in many capacities that greatly benefitted Alabama’s waterfowl hunters and resources including providing technical assistance to countless landowners and clubs regarding management of waterfowl and wetland habitats. Hayden also coordinated Alabama’s waterfowl research and management programs, including a large-scale wood duck nest box program, banding programs, and maintenance of banding records. Hayden was also instrumental in coordinating with Ducks Unlimited to implement several projects in Alabama that greatly benefitted waterfowl habitat and hunting opportunities.  
In addition to state and regional waterfowl projects, Hayden has also represented Alabama on the Mississippi Flyway Council technical committee, a collaborative group of North American waterfowl managers. He currently serves as Alabama’s council member.
According to WFF Wildlife Section Chief Gary Moody, Hayden has served as a mentor to many WFF biologists. “David’s leadership and direction have been invaluable to our staff and his efforts have greatly benefited Alabama’s wildlife resources,” Moody said. 
N. Gunter Guy, Jr., Conservation Department Commissioner, echoed Moody’s praise. “David consistently performs his duties with professionalism, integrity, and enthusiasm,” Guy said. “His dedication to his profession has earned him the respect of his peers in Alabama and throughout the nation.  Hayden is an asset to this agency and to all Alabamians.”
SEAFWA is an organization of state agencies that have primary responsibility for management and protection of fish and wildlife resources in 15 states.
The Alabama Department of Conservation and Natural Resources promotes wise stewardship, management and enjoyment of Alabama’s natural resources through five divisions: Marine Police, Marine Resources, State Lands, State Parks, and Wildlife and Freshwater Fisheries. To learn more about ADCNR, visit www.outdooralabama.com. 
Photo: David Hayden receives his award from SEAFWA Vice President Ed Carter (left) and SEAFWA President Carter Smith (right) during the group’s annual awards banquet in Hot Springs, Ark., on October 9, 2012.