Christine Stevens Wildlife Awards

photo by Vincent van Zalinge

An award program to fund innovative strategies for humane, nonlethal wildlife conflict management and improved methods of wildlife study.


Habitat destruction and degradation, urban and suburban sprawl, and ongoing challenges posed by invasive species make conflicts between wildlife and humans inevitable. Homeowners, property managers, and biologists need humane, effective strategies to deal with conflicts—whether the encounter involves coyotes, deer, Canada geese, bears, exotic species, or a host of other animals. Though improved techniques to address some situations have been developed, more are needed. Similarly, methodologies used to study wildlife need to be humane.

The Christine Stevens Wildlife Awards—named in honor of the organization’s late founder and president for over 50 years—was created to stimulate and support efforts to (1) devise new, nonlethal techniques and strategies and test existing products for the purpose of humanely remedying wildlife conflicts and (2) improve methods of wildlife study. With this award program we aim to honor Mrs. Stevens’ legacy and inspire a new generation of compassionate wildlife scientists, managers, and advocates.

Application Information

  • To qualify for the award, the study must be conducted within the United States, Canada, and/or Mexico.
  • Studies using new methodologies or that involve the innovative use of existing technologies are particularly welcome.
  • Award recipients must agree to submit a 500-word summary of their study findings and at least two photographs related to their research approximately one year after receipt of funding for potential publication in the AWI Quarterly magazine.
  • Previous award winners do not qualify for a new award for the same study in consecutive years.
  • Where applicable, award recipients will be required to provide documentation of IACUC approval (or similar approvals for educational institutions in Canada or Mexico) for their study.
  • Award funds cannot be used to pay for any indirect costs.
  • Questions about this award program or the application should be directed to [email protected]

Christine Stevens

Christine Stevens has long been called the “Mother of the Animal Protection Movement” in America. For over half a century, she dedicated her life to reducing animal suffering both here and abroad. In the words of Dr. Jane Goodall: “Christine Stevens was a giant voice for animal welfare. Passionate, yet always reasoned, she took up one cause after another and she never gave up. Millions of animals are better off because of Christine’s quiet and very effective advocacy.”

Christine Stevens

Christine founded the Animal Welfare Institute to end the cruel treatment of animals in experimental laboratories. Inevitably, her work expanded to take on other animal welfare causes, including preventing animal extinctions due to anthropogenic causes, reforming methods used to raise animals for food, banning steel-jaw leghold traps, ending commercial whaling, and much more. Christine supported wildlife management programs that were “win-win” situations—such as highway underpasses to facilitate wildlife movements, wildlife birth control, beaver bafflers to minimize or prevent beaver-caused flooding, and perching platforms that protect raptors from electrocution.

  • Dr. Susan Ellis-Felege of the University of North Dakota to determine if less invasive aerial surveys can replace ground surveys to measure populations of prairie grouse.
  • Dr. Austin Green of the University of Utah to investigate the effects of humans’ weekend recreational activities on wildlife breeding behavior and habitat use patterns.
  • Chelsea Greer of Raincoast Conservation Foundation to assess the effects of commonly used motion-activated camera models on the behavior of gray wolves in British Columbia, Canada.
  • Dr. Jack Hopkins of the Center for Wildlife Studies to analyze the nail tips of captive spotted, wood, and Blanding’s turtles (held for educational purposes or in rehabilitation centers awaiting release) to determine if they are captive-bred or sourced from the wild, helping to combat the illegal turtle trade.
  • Dr. Robert Long of Woodland Park Zoo to develop a synthetic liquid attractant for studying wild carnivores that will replace scents manufactured from animal products.
  • Dr. Annie Loosen of the University of Northern British Columbia and Yellowstone to Yukon Conservation Initiative to study the relationship between human recreational activities and wildlife conservation, focusing on wolverines, grizzly bears, and mountain caribou in Canada.
  • Rae Nickerson of Utah State University to investigate the efficacy of range riders to reduce predator-livestock conflicts across the American West.
  • Anastasia Rahlin of the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign to develop noninvasive environmental DNA methods to sample a variety of marsh bird populations around Chicago, helping to improve conservation and management of the species.
  • Molly Alves of Utah State University and the Tulalip Tribes for a metanalysis of beaver relocation data to inform humane and successful methodologies and policies for beaver translocations.
  • Hee Jin Chung of the University of California, Davis to explore the individual variation in domestic house cats’ hunting behavior and test the efficacy of intervention method to reduce predation.
  • Dr. Catherine Haase of Austin Peay State University to assess fine-scale use of artificial roosts by bats in response to microclimate conditions.
  • Dr. K. David Hyrenbach of Oikonos Ecosystem Knowledge to use light pollution measurements to predict wedge-tailed shearwater fallout hotspots in O’ahu, Hawai’i.
  • Kristen Mazzarella of Mote Marine Laboratory to use satellite telemetry to study the movement patterns of rehabilitated adult male sea turtles.
  • Dr. Benjamin Sacks of the University of California, Davis for the noninvasive use of alpine carnivores to find and map endangered keystone prey along California’s Pacific Crest.
  • Monica Serrano of the University of California, Davis for the use of a noninvasive genetic analysis to characterize and monitor San Francisco’s urban coyote population.
  • Dr. Lance Barrett-Lennard and Dr. Valeria Vergara of the Raincoast Conservation Foundation to monitor at-risk whales and monitor ocean noise using noninvasive technologies in the Salish Sea.
  • Cody Aylward of University of California, Davis for developing and implementing a novel, noninvasive genetic survey of the endangered salt marsh harvest mouse.
  • Dr. Zoe Hanley of Defenders of Wildlife for testing and evaluating advanced radio-activated guard box technology to deter gray wolves from killing livestock in grazing areas in select western states, thereby further developing an important tool for reducing predator-livestock conflicts.
  • Dr. Karen Herman of Sky Mountain Wild Horse Sanctuary for evaluating refined PZP-22 fertility control vaccines for wild horses in the Carson National Forest in northern New Mexico, and monitoring the results to develop long-term, minimally invasive, and sustainable herd management.
  • Dr. Aerin Jacob of Yellowstone to Yukon Conservation Initiative for measuring winter recreation and how it may affect at-risk species, including wolverines and grizzly bears, in the Canadian Rockies.
  • Dr. Susan McRae of East Carolina University for developing noninvasive monitoring techniques, including the use of infrared trail cameras and collecting and analyzing environmental DNA from soil and water samples, to improve the conservation of threatened eastern black rails in North Carolina.
  • Dr. Maureen Murray of Cummings School of Veterinary Medicine at Tufts University for investigating rodenticide exposure among red-tailed hawks, with broader implications for other birds of prey.
  • Dr. Beth Brady of Mote Marine Laboratory for using novel technologies, including aerial drones and acoustic recordings, to investigate how Antillean manatees are affected by tour boats in Mexico’s Sian Ka’an Biosphere Reserve.
  • Dr. Tracey Tuberville of University of Georgia's Savannah River Ecology Laboratory for evaluating the suitability of repatriating confiscated and rehabilitated Eastern box turtles—recovered from the illegal wildlife trade—back into the wild.
  • Dr. Jessica Castillo Vardaro of San Jose State University for assessing the American pika population’s vulnerability to various threats, including climate change and livestock grazing, through genetic analysis of their fecal pellets.
  • Tali Caspi of the University of California, Davis for linking the diet of coyotes to human-coyote interactions in an urban environment.
  • Samantha Kreling of the University of Washington for investigating urban coyote diet using noninvasive metagenomics.
  • Kristy Ferraro of Yale University Forestry & Environmental Studies for using isotopic signatures to track migratory wildlife food acquisition and nutrient deposition.
  • Dr. Anik Boileau of the Sept-Iles Research & Education Centre for validating infrared thermography as a noninvasive tool to measure stress in free-ranging whales.
  • Kiah Williams of Tulane University for assessing the causes of nest failure in three beach-nesting bird species using camera surveillance.
  • Samuel Hervey of Michigan Technological University for developing a noninvasive genetic sampling tool to conserve emblematic American wolf populations.
  • Rob Walton of The Beaver Coalition for empowering nonlethal solutions to human/beaver conflicts.
  • Dr. Melanie Murphy of the University of Wyoming for assessing amphibian population trends in southeast Wyoming using a community science approach.
  • Dr. James Anderson of West Virginia University for developing noninvasive genetic and environmental DNA methods for monitoring salamander distribution to aid in conservation efforts.
  • Stacy Cotey of Michigan Tech University for analyzing the snow tracks left by northern river otters to create individual genetic profiles to better monitor the animals’ behaviors, population numbers and genetic diversity.
  • Dr. Maureen Murray of the Tufts University Wildlife Clinic for determining accurate methods of screening red-tailed hawks to document exposure to dangerous anticoagulant rodenticides.
  • Dr. Susan Parks of Syracuse University for using noninvasive digital acoustic tags to quantify how often Florida manatees are involved in close encounters with oceangoing vessels and to assess their behavioral responses.
  • Christine Proctor of Harrisburg University of Science and Technology for using thermal imaging captured via drones to evaluate the population status of the eastern massasauga rattlesnake, a threatened species.
  • Dr. Tracey Tuberville of the University of Georgia for studying the dispersal, health and survival of “waif” gopher tortoises (gopher tortoises who have been injured, collected illegally or have unknown origins), to determine whether these formerly captive tortoises are suitable for release into the wild.
  • Dr. Andrew Von Duyke of the North Slope Borough Department of Wildlife Management for monitoring polar bears of the Alaska-Chukotka subpopulation by sampling environmental DNA from snow tracks to genetically “fingerprint” individual animals and estimate the size of the subpopulation.
  • Dr. Brian Darby of the University of North Dakota: New research on non-invasive methods to monitor polar bears
  • Pieter Folkens of the Alaska Whale Foundation: Developing a new and less invasive method to free entangled whales
  • <Kristine Inman of the Wildlife Conservation Society: Research to create and test wildlife-friendly fencing
  • Dr. Mary Beth Manjerovic of the Lincoln Park Zoo: New research on non-invasive methods to monitor amphibian health and stress
  • Dr. Christine Sheppard of the American Bird Conservancy: Developing a new method to test glass samples to reduce bird collisions