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The Wildlife Society’s Celebrating Our Wildlife Conservation Heritage series – “Interview with S.J. Harbo”

January 25, 2018 @ 1:00 PM - 3:00 PM

The Wildlife Society’s Celebrating Our Wildlife Conservation Heritage series: “Interview with Dr. Samuel J. Harbo, Jr.”

Thursday, Jan. 25, 2018
Elvey Auditorium 1-3pm

The Alaska Chapter of The Wildlife Society is pleased to announce a seminar interview with Dr. Samuel J. Harbo, Jr. in the Elvey Auditorium on Thursday Jan. 25, from 1 – 3 p.m. This interview is part of The Wildlife Society’s Celebrating Our Wildlife Conservation Heritage (COWCH) series, which chronicles the careers and experience of individuals that have had a significant impact on the wildlife profession.

Sam Harbo grew up on a small farm in Minnesota. Hunting, fishing and trapping were a way of life in his family. After high school, he went to the University of Nebraska on a US Navy scholarship in 1947. He served in the Navy after graduation, and then enrolled in the master’s degree program at the University of California Berkeley, but transferred to the Wildlife Management program at UAF in 1956. An avid trapper, he conducted his graduate research on mink in interior and southeast Alaska.

After graduation from UAF, Harbo worked for the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service in Cold Bay. At statehood, he became the first area game biologist in Nome for the Alaska Department of Fish and Game. He left ADF&G to earn a Ph.D. in Statistics from North Carolina State University.

He accepted a faculty position in the Wildlife Management Department at the University of Alaska in 1964 and retired in 1986. During that time he served as department chair for ten years, and was instrumental in establishing the UAF Statistics Department. He also served as chairman of the Board of Game for ten years (1975-1985) during a tempestuous period when subsistence and wolf control were hot button issues.

During his tenure at the university, he mentored and supervised many undergraduate and graduate students in the wildlife and statistics programs. He was also instrumental in improving survey techniques for many species, including moose, through collaboration with the Alaska Department of Fish and Game.

Throughout his professional career, Harbo remained an avid hunter. His reflective nature caused Sam to question his own values and motives. He eventually concluded that he was a dedicated “meat” hunter, which he attributes to his practical upbringing on the farm.

The interview will be conducted by Cathie Harms, retired ADF&G biologist. This is an opportunity to hear about Dr. Harbo’s experiences during his career here in Alaska, which spanned the transition from territory to statehood, the rapid growth in the human population in Alaska due to the oil boom, the dramatic changes in landownership associated with the Alaska Native Claims Settlement Act and the ‘subsistence battle’, the impacts of the Marine Mammal Act, and the ‘wolf wars’ of the 1970’s and 1980’s. He will share with us his perspectives on the changes he has observed during his lifetime as they relate to wildlife conservation and management in Alaska.

Please share. Sam Harbo was very influential during his career here in Alaska, both at ADF&G, UAF and through his chairmanship of the Board of Game. He affected the careers of an entire generation of biometricians and wildlife biologists.

Contact: Scott Brainerd, ADF&G, 907-459-7261


January 25, 2018
1:00 PM - 3:00 PM


Elvey Auditorium
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