The Bob Hatcher Conservation Award
Named in honor of the man who served as the Tennessee Wildlife Resources Agency Coordinator for Non-game and Endangered Species for 23 years (see article below), the Bob Hatcher Conservation Award was created by the Tennessee Herpetological Society in 2001. The award was created to recognize an individual who promotes the conservation of reptiles and amphibians in Tennessee.
Nominations may be made by any member in good standing by filling out the application. Nominee qualifications will be reviewed by the Board of Directors and a recipient will be chosen on his/her merits.
Purpose: The Robert Hatcher Conservation Achievement Award is established in 2008 by The Tennessee Herpetological Society in recognition of an individual’s longtime scientific and/or conservation achievement in regard to native herpetofauna of Tennessee. The award shall be given as the selection committee deems merited
The Selection Committee will be comprised of:
1 THS board member
1 THS member of academia
1 THS student member
To qualify for nomination:
The nominee must be a THS member.
The nominee must not be a sitting board member.
The nominee’s achievement must span several years.
The nominee’s achievements must involve the study and/or conservation of native amphibians or reptiles.
The nominee’s achievements must be within Tennessee.
The nominee’s achievement must be easily recognizable and clearly demonstrated by results.
Nomination Process: The candidate shall be nominated by sending an email to the THS President at tnherpsociety(at)gmail.com that includes your name/affiliation and the nominee's name/affiliation and providing a 1-2 page narrative description of the nominee’s accomplishments and include an explanation of their significance or impact, that is, why the nominee’s accomplishments are important and worthy of recognition. Candidate nominations should be submitted by a THS member to the THS board member of the Selection Committee. Please include Bob Hatcher Conservation Award nomination.
The winner of the Robert Hatcher Award for achievement will be selected by the selection Committee based on the impact and relevance of the candidate’s conservation achievement.
Confidentiality is critical to the integrity of this selection process. Please observe the following:
Please do not notify candidates that they have been nominated.
Be as discreet as possible and avoid discussing nominations with others other than your closest colleagues.
Please remind colleagues contacted to respect this confidentiality.
Past Award Recipients:
2001 Lisa Powers
2016 R.L. Pete Wyatt
2021 Dr. Floyd Scott
2022 O. Ray Jordan
The Bob Hatcher Legacy
by Pandy English, LEAPS
Reprinted from the Tennessee Herpetological Society Newsletter, Vol. 1, No. 1
The above award honors Bob Hatcher, who retired March 31, 2001 from the Tennessee Wildlife Resources Agency (TWRA). Hatcher worked for the TWRA for 38 years, the last 23 years as the Coordinator for Non-game and Endangered Species. Recently, there was an article by Glenn Himebaugh in the Tennessee Wildlife magazine noting some of the accomplishments of the non-game program under the direction of Bob Hatcher. One area of tremendous success mentioned in the article was the reintroduction of native Tennessee wildlife species. Here are a few examples.
Since 1980 TWRA and its partners have released:
37 Golden Eagles
44 Peregrine Falcons
257 Mississippi Kites
284 Bald Eagles
487 River Otters
Thousands of rare fish (10-11 species)
250,000 captive-bred endangered mussels (8 spiecies)
Twelve of Tennessee's 76 species of crayfish have been added to the state's rare species list and granted protection.
With Bob Hatcher as a catalyst, non-game animals have a newfound respect in Tennessee. Tennessee was the first state to create Watchable Wildlife Observation Areas. There are now 81 wildlife-viewing sites across the state.
Funding is always a limiting factor when it comes to conservation efforts. Knowing this, one of Hatcher's last battles before retiring was a long, hard fight to ratify the Conservation and Reinvestment Act (CARA). In one of the many handouts that Bob distributed at our herp conferences, he stated, "The Conservation and Reinvestment Act could make a greater difference for the nation's non-game wildlife than any law of the last 50 years." CARA could provide funds generated from Outer Continental Shelf oil and gas royalties to Title III (non-game) wildlife programs. This could one day provide millions of dollars for such projects as land purchase, wildlife education programs, and research on species abundance and distribution. The future of CARA is not known. Bob has passed that torch to his replacement, Richard Kirk, and only time will tell.
Most importantly, Tennesseans are once again seeing wildlife species that were extirpated back in the wilds of our state. For example, the late John Netherton saw river otters return to Radnor Lake. Also my husband and I recently observed nesting Peregrine Falcons on the Alum Caves Bluff Trail in the Great Smoky Mountains. These things do not just happen. They take years of hard work, dedication, and direction. For that, we have Bob Hatcher to thank.