“A Primer on Natural Resource Science,” a Texas A&M Press book in which author Fred S. Guthery advocates putting learning about the nature of science into university curricula, received the 2009 Outstanding Publication Award sponsored by The Wildlife Society.
The award recognizes excellence in scientific writing characterized by originality of research or thought and a high scholastic standard in the manner of presentation. The award was presented at The Wildlife Society’s 16th annual conference in Monterrey, Calif., on Sept. 20-24.
Guthery is a professor and holds the Bollenbach Chair in Wildlife Ecology at Oklahoma State University. Widely recognized for his work on upland game birds, he is the author of “On Bobwhites” and a contributor to the recent book “Texas Quails,” both published by Texas A&M University Press. He lives in Stillwater, Okla.
In wildlife, fisheries, forestry and range management departments around the country, the consensus is that natural resource scientists and their students advance understanding of the natural world largely through the collection and analysis of data. These students learn how to acquire data in the field and analyze them using modeling and other statistical methods.
What they do not learn, Guthery contends, is what science means as an intellectual pursuit and where natural resource science fits in the scientific tradition. He argues that without education about the nature and philosophy of science, the wildlife field has become enamored with its methodologies at the expense of gaining real knowledge, leading to what some have characterized as “a crisis in how wildlife science is pursued.” With “A Primer on Natural Resource Science,” Guthery intends to put learning about the nature of science into the natural resource scientist’s university curriculum.