Utah State University wildlife biologist Robert Schmidt is among a team of scientists recognized for efforts to disseminate research-based information and practical approaches to address human-wildlife conflict in communities throughout the nation. Schmidt and five fellow members of the multi-university Internet Center for Wildlife Damage Management were awarded the 2008 Northeast Extension Director’s Award of Excellence at a ceremony July 14, in Bethesda, Md.
“The ICWDM is an outstanding project that raises the bar for multi-state collaboration and pushes the envelope for online programming,” said Helene Dillard, award presenter and director of Cornell University Cooperative Extension where the ICWDM is based. “The team has created a user-friendly Web site full of information that is relevant to the public and county, state and federal agencies.”
Bats in your attic? Deer in your flowers? Coyotes roaming your neighborhood? The ICWDM Web site
features techniques and strategies to help people prevent wildlife conflicts and offers advice on agencies to contact and action to take when conflicts occur.
“People need to understand how to resolve or manage problems caused by wildlife with solutions that are humane, ecologically sensitive and responsible and economically viable,” says Schmidt, associate professor in the College of Natural Resources’ Department of Environment and Society. “This site is developed to do just that.”
The site includes frequently asked questions and an ‘Ask the Expert’ page, which allows users to submit queries. Responses are typically provided within 24 hours. A news and upcoming events page keeps users informed of happenings at local, state and national levels, and a glossary defines terms and diseases commonly discussed in wildlife damage management.
The Web site was funded through a grant from the National Integrated Pest Management Network and USDA Cooperative State, Research, Education and Extension Service. According to ICWDM, the site receives more than 60,000 visitors (1.6 million hits) per year, including users from more than 40 countries and ranks number one in hits (using the key phrase “wildlife damage”) on Google, Yahoo and MSN Internet search engines.