Pamela Hunt Honored with “Celebrating Women in Conservation” Award

Posted on March 31, 2016
Pamela Hunt receives National Wildlife Federation’s “Celebrating Women in Conservation” from Eric Orff.

Pamela Hunt receives National Wildlife Federation’s “Celebrating Women in Conservation” from Eric Orff.

Dr. Pamela Hunt, Senior Biologist in Avian Conservation at New Hampshire Audubon, was honored this month with the National Wildlife Federation’s “Celebrating Women in Conservation” award. This national award recognizes Hunt for her outstanding leadership in educating the public about the impacts of climate change on New Hampshire’s wildlife.

National Wildlife Federation representative Eric Orff surprised Hunt with the award last week during a meeting of the New Hampshire Audubon Board of Trustees. During the presentation, Orff referred to Hunt’s role in what NWF called: the New Hampshire “dream team” on climate change.

“Pam has made significant contributions in changing the culture of NH folks from non-believers to climate change believers,” Orff explains. “She always goes above and beyond to carry her message about the impacts of climate change on our wildlife.”

A passion and curiosity for nature from childhood eventually led Hunt to NH Audubon in 2000, after earning a B.S. in biology from Cornell University, M.A. in zoology from the University of Montana, and a Ph.D. from Dartmouth College – all of which she puts to good use as a driving force for conservation in the state. She also works closely with NH Fish and Game to coordinate and prioritize bird research and monitoring in the state, and most recently contributed significantly to that agency’s 2015 “Wildlife Action Plan.”

“You can’t conserve if you don’t know what you’ve got,” offers Hunt, reflecting on the importance of inventory and monitoring projects she’s implemented over the years, including those for Whip-poor-wills, Purple Martins, and even dragonflies.

“When we don’t even know if a thing is rare or not, we better find out where it is, and if there is anything we should worry about. It’s another piece of the puzzle – curiosity drives the questions which then generate answers which may or may not be applied to conservation.”

In 2013 and 2014, Hunt became one of a group of speakers (organized by Orff) discussing climate change as part of a travelling slide show.

“Four or five of us – all women – gave talks about the effects of climate change on NH’s wildlife,” said Hunt. They discussed offshore shrimping, moose populations, and birds along with the Wildlife Action Plan and citizen science opportunities.

“While we were doing these talks, people kept pointing out to us how cool it is that we are all women, up there doing this,” she remembers, looking back at a year’s worth of community presentations, “so that little girls can see that they can do it too.”