The Ruffed Grouse Society (RGS) announces the hiring of Andrew P. Weik as its New England Regional Wildlife Biologist. Scheduled to start in January 2010, Weik will be responsible for implementing RGS' on-the-ground forest management and landowner and land manager education programs in Connecticut, Maine, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, New York, Rhode Island and Vermont.
A New England native Weik, 45, has been employed with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service's (USFWS) Northeast Region at Moosehorn National Wildlife Refuge – the only National Wildlife Refuge dedicated to woodcock management – for the past five years. He serves as technical expert in USFWS Region 5 on early successional forest habitat management and its impact on American woodcock population dynamics.
In addition to providing technical training regarding forest management techniques that benefit wildlife to public and private resource professionals and landowners at workshops and meetings, Andrew was responsible for developing the Refuge's Habitat Management Plan, Annual Habitat Work Plan, and assisting with the development of the Comprehensive Conservation Plan which will guide refuge programs for the next 15 years. Prior to working with the USFWS, Weik was the Waterfowl and Upland Game Bird Program Leader for the Maine Department of Inland Fisheries & Wildlife where, among other projects, he coordinated the development and implementation of programs and surveys to assess the status of game birds.
Married with two sons, Nolan (5) and Collin (3), Andrew, together with his wife Angela (also a wildlife biologist), enjoys hunting with their two setters and one Labrador for grouse, woodcock and waterfowl. One of Andy's favorite quotes from the father of wildlife management, Aldo Leopold, when talking about grouse hunting, is “There are two kinds of hunting: ordinary hunting, and ruffed grouse hunting”. “All of us here at RGS are very excited about the addition of Andrew to our team,” says RGS President and CEO Mike Zagata. “Andy's background and experience as a wildlife biologist with the USFWS, as well as his work with the Maine Department of Inland Fisheries & Wildlife, will help us continue our mission of enhancing the environment for ruffed grouse, American woodcock, and other forest wildlife that utilize or require thick, young forests created through ecologically sound forest management practices”. “I'm really excited about working for the Ruffed Grouse Society,” says Weik.
“The organization was founded on the principle that sound scientific management is essential in today's landscape for thriving populations of grouse, woodcock and other wildlife. I look forward to building on the accomplishments of the other RGS biologists, raising awareness of the habitat needs of grouse, woodcock, and other wildlife that depend on young forest, helping incorporate successional forest habitat management in municipal, state, federal, corporate, and non governmental organizations' management plans, incorporating wildlife habitat needs into the development of woody biomass technology to help meet our energy and wildlife habitat needs, and working with landowners and RGS chapters on habitat improvement projects,” Weik said. One specific project that Weik hopes to see through to its conclusion in 2010 is revising the RGS-published “A Woodcock in the Hand” (Sepik 1994) — a publication that provides tips on examining, aging, and sexing American woodcock as well as information on population monitoring and conservation. The booklet is currently out of print.