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William M. Healy

B.S. Forestry, 1964; M.S. Wildlife Management, 1967

William M. “Bill” Healy earned both his bachelor’s degree in Forestry (1964) and his master’s degree in Wildlife Management (1967) at Penn State. As an undergraduate, he was a member of the Tau Phi Delta fraternity and The Wildlife Society (TWS). As a graduate student he worked under Dr. James Lindzey in the Pennsylvania Cooperative Wildlife Research Unit. His graduate research addressed “Forage Preferences of Captive Deer while Free Ranging in the Allegheny National Forest,” and examined seasonal changes in deer forage preferences in northern hardwood forests. 
     Following graduate school, Bill began his research career with the USDA Forest Service in Morgantown, WV, where he studied wild turkey brood and winter habitat use. In 1978, he earned his Ph.D. in Forest Resource Science at West Virginia University, studying the relationship among turkey poult feeding, insect abundance, and vegetation structure. In 1982 Bill moved to the Forest Service Northeastern Research Station in Amherst, MA, where he continued studies of forest wildlife habitat relationships including the effects of white-tailed deer on forest vegetation, the effects of forest thinning treatments on hard mast production, and the relationship between acorn crops and small mammal abundance. 
     Bill retired from the USDA Forest Service in 2000 after a 33-year career as a wildlife biologist, but his ground-breaking wild turkey research still influences conservation and restoration efforts today. 
     In 1992 Bill was awarded the Henry Mosby Award from the National Wild Turkey Federation (NWTF) for his pioneering research on imprinted wild turkeys. The Mosby award is named for Dr. Henry S. Mosby, whose research during the mid-1900s set the standard for wild turkey management not only in the East, but throughout the nation. 
     During the 1990s, Bill served two, three-year terms as the Northeast Section Representative to The Wildlife Society Council. The council is the society’s governing board, responsible for strategic and financial oversight of the organization. Section Representatives are elected by the membership in their Section and are limited to two terms. 
     Bill was recognized in 2003 as a Fellow of TWS, the inaugural year of this award that recognizes TWS members who have distinguished themselves through exceptional service to the wildlife profession. Fellows are appointed for life, serve as TWS ambassadors, and are encouraged to engage in outreach and other activities that will benefit and promote both TWS and the wildlife profession. 
     In 2015 Bill received the NWTF’s Wayne Bailey Lifetime Achievement Award as a tribute to his many contributions to wildlife conservation, and his role in turkey restoration and conservation. The Wayne Bailey award specifically recognizes a wildlife biologist, trapper, or wildlife manager who has devoted his or her career to the wild turkey and played a major role in the turkey's restoration and management. 
     In January 2016 Bill was recognized by the West Virginia Chapter of the NWTF with a Lifetime Achievement Award for his lifelong contribution to the NWTF and the conservation of the wild turkey in West Virginia. 
     Bill has authored and coauthored more than 100 peer-reviewed publications on wildlife, habitat management, and ecology. Among these publications are Oak Forest Ecosystems: Ecology and Management for Wildlife (co-edited with William McShea), and Wild Turkey Harvest Management: Biology, Strategies, and Techniques, which is a USFWS Biological Technical Bulletin commissioned by the Northeast Wildlife Administrators Association in the 1990s. Bill also continues to serve as an editor of the Proceedings of the National Wild Turkey Symposium. The symposia are held every five years and the proceedings are a much-anticipated collection of papers representing the state of knowledge on wild turkeys and their management. 
     Even in retirement, Bill remains active in conservation. He continues to serve annually as the co-lead instructor at the Northeast Section TWS Field Course in Castleton, VT, which provides wildlife students with practical, hands-on training in field biology. Bill has participated in the course since it was founded in 2009, volunteering his time and expertise to spend two weeks with undergraduate and graduate students, serving as a mentor and sharing his field expertise. Bill is also a Certified Wildlife Biologist and a member of TWS’ The 1,000. These are individuals who are leading by example to preserve the heritage of TWS and create a brighter future that ensures that TWS is the voice of wildlife science, management, and conservation for generations to come. 
     In addition, Bill has been an advocate for the West Virginia Trappers Association and a regional director for the West Virginia Wildlife Federation. His skill as an artist has resulted in his drawings becoming the cover art for a variety of wildlife publications and journals, including Northeast Wildlife, the archives of which are housed in Penn State’s Paterno Library.
     Bill's hobbies include managing his 200-acre property in West Virginia for wildlife diversity, rabbit and deer hunting, and bird and butterfly watching. About 90 bird species reside on or visit the property each year. His prize habitats are native shrub-land and old fields where blue-winged warblers and a host of other species flourish. Howard and Dottie, two eager beagles, help Bill evaluate his land management.