Redefining the Classroom

Fisheries and Wildlife Club receives more AFS awards

Posted: January 22nd, 2010

CONTACT: Tom Pink, 906-635-2315,; John Shibley, 635-2314,; Prof. Geoff Steinhart, 635-2093,

SAULT STE. MARIE, Mich. – Lake Superior State University's Fisheries and Wildlife Club continued its streak of excellence by winning two more awards recently from the American Fisheries Society.

The club was nationally recognized when awarded the AFS 2009 Outstanding Student Subunit and, for the third year running, was the recipient of the AFS North-Central Division Most Active Student Subunit Award. These awards are given to student subunits that are very active in fisheries research, education, outreach, and professional development.

Receiving the American Fisheries Society (AFS) North-Central Outstanding Student Subunit Award

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"For LSSU to be selected three years in a row for the North Central Division award is impressive in its own right," said Jessica Mistak, past-president of the Michigan Chapter and the North Central Division. "For this small school's subunit to be recognized at the Parent Society level for their achievements is just phenomenal. However, when you consider that LSSU's subunit is comprised solely of undergraduates and has out-competed other subunits which include both undergraduate and graduate students, the recognition is much more impressive and deserving."

The club received the awards for their extensive activities over the past couple of years, according to LSSU biology professors Geoff Steinhart Ph.D. and Jason Garvon Ph.D., co-advisors. For example, the members have assisted in several kids fishing tournaments, led educational programs for school groups, organized and hosted the annual Michigan AFS meeting and a mussel identification workshop, hosted a community whitefish dinner, volunteered in various management and restoration projects, and raised funds to support student participation at professional meetings and the Red Cross.

The club, with assistance from the LSSU Foundation, sent former presidents Brandon Gerig ’09 of Marion, Ind., currently a graduate student at the University of Florida, and Brianne Lunn ’09 of Bellaire, Mich., currently a graduate student at the University of Alberta, along with current vice president Doug Galvas ’11, Mayville, Mich., to the national AFS meeting in Nashville. They received the Outstanding Student Subunit Award in front of well over 1,000 fisheries professionals.

Receiving the AFS National Outstanding Student Subunit Award

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"Being able to attend such a large conference was daunting at first, but a very valuable experience," said Galvas. "I was able to meet and talk with many scientists, students, and educators. I even met a scientist from Canada who is now giving me advice for my senior thesis project."

In addition, 11 LSSU students participated in the 70th annual Midwest Fish and Wildlife Conference, held Dec. 6-9 in Springfield, Ill. Two students presented senior thesis posters to hundreds of professionals and graduate students. Posters included "Comparison of Waterfowl Nesting in Natural and Artificial Habitat," by Ken Schwab '10 of Manchester, Mich., and "Spatial and Seasonal Changes in the Zooplankton Community of the St. Mary's River," by Ben Turschak '10 of Akron, Mich.

Graduating senior Schwab said, "The conference was an important opportunity for the students of the LSSU Fish and Wildlife Club to meet students of their fields of interest and learn what we need to do to accelerate our chances of employment in the field. As LSSU students, we are fortunate to get the chance to do this."

Schwab took home a bonus from the conference – a 16-ft Lowe jon boat, 25 hp Mercury four-stroke outboard and trailer that he won in a raffle. Field biologist Jeremy Tiemann of the Illinois Natural History Survey held the boat until Schwab, who wasn't expecting to pull a boat back to Michigan with the school van, was able to pick it up.

The Outstanding Student Subunit Award is a national award and was shared with the University of Idaho Subunit. The North-Central Division includes 16 states and provinces and this year's Most Active Student Subunit award was shared with Iowa State University.

Click here for more information on LSSU’s Fisheries and Wildlife Club. Click here for more about studying fisheries and wildlife management or other science programs at LSSU.