David L. Trauger of Frostburg, Md., professor emeritus in natural resources management in Virginia Tech’s College of Natural Resources and Environment, received the Washington Academy of Sciences Leo Schubert Award for teaching science in college. 

Founded in 1898 as an affiliation of eight scientific societies, the academy has been honoring distinguished scientists who work in the greater Washington, D.C., area since 1940.

“I am honored and humbled to receive this prestigious award from the academy,” Trauger said upon receiving his award. “This recognition means a great deal to me and I thank all for nominating and supporting me.”

Trauger joined the Virginia Tech faculty in 2001 and served as director of the College of Natural Resources and Environment’s natural resources program in the National Capital Region until 2008. As a professor, he taught courses in conservation ecology, global issues in natural resources, field biology and ecology, sustainability science, modern wildlife management, and ecosystem management. Trauger also served as the associate dean for the Graduate School in the National Capital Region and the director of the Northern Virginia Center before retiring in 2010.

During his tenure, 45 students received their Master of Natural Resources under his guidance, more than half of whom were women and minorities. He also served on the graduate committees of more than 15 students in other programs in the National Capital Region, including landscape architecture and urban affairs and planning.

“David has made enormous professional and personal contributions to our programming in the National Capital Region,” said Dean Paul Winistorfer. “He, almost single handedly, buoyed up our graduate program there and established a strong foundation for us to build on.”

“David has been a genuine person to work with these years and we are thankful for his contributions to our program and the many students he has worked with,” Winistorfer continued. “This award is a fitting recognition for his contributions.”

Prior to his arrival at Virginia Tech, Trauger spent 32 years working in natural resource agencies of the Department of the Interior, including an appointment as chief of the Division of Wildlife Research for the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service in Washington, D.C., and as director of the Patuxent Wildlife Research Center in Laurel, Md. As a senior staff biologist with the National Biological Service (1994-1996) and the U.S. Geological Survey (1996-2001), he led agency-wide efforts to conduct peer evaluations of agency scientists and to recruit women and other under-represented groups into government. Throughout his federal career, he served as a mentor for more than 20 women and minority graduate students.

Currently, Trauger is an adjunct faculty member at the Appalachian Laboratory, part of the University of Maryland Center for Environmental Science. He continues to teach an online conservation ecology course for Virginia Tech’s natural resources program in the National Capital Region and is working with about 20 graduate students who are pursuing their Masters of Natural Resources.

Trauger received his bachelor’s degree, master’s degree, and doctorate from Iowa State University.



Written by Morgan Zavertnik of Akron, Ohio, a senior majoring in communications and Spanish in the College of Liberal Arts and Human Sciences.

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