A director, some reference books, a few grad students and a pile of rubber boots in the basement of Iowa State’s Insectary: In 1932 these humble beginnings launched the Iowa Cooperative Fish and Wildlife Research Unit. In 2007 the unit is celebrating the 75th anniversary of what has become a national, innovative and effective system for developing information to scientifically manage the nation’s fish and wildlife.
“This idea of partnering with federal agencies and placing staff in the land grant universities started in Iowa. Today our mission remains the same — training fish and wildlife professionals and doing research,” said David Otis, leader of the Iowa unit. Cooperative Fish and Wildlife Research Units now are established at land grant universities in 40 states.
Along with assistant leaders Rolf Koford and Clay Pierce, Otis provides administrative support and guidance for cooperative research and education programs related to fisheries and wildlife biology and management, and to natural resource conservation. In addition, the unit provides technical assistance to its cooperators and the public through lectures, workshops, conferences and publications. The unit is housed by and administratively associated with Iowa State’s Department of Natural Resource Ecology and Management (NREM) and the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences.