Patuxent Wildlife Research Center

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Judd A. Howell
Judd A. Howell, Acting Director

Photo of Dr. Greg Smith, Director
Dr. Greg Smith, Director

Welcome Message from Director

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The Patuxent Wildlife Research Center is a gem in the crown of The Department of the Interior, nested in the US Geological Survey and located on a spectacular National Research Refuge in the heart of Maryland. The following welcome message was crafted by the late Center Director, Dr. Gregory J. Smith. It reminds us of who we are and why we are here. Please take some time to peruse our site and come to know us better.


Judd A. Howell (Center Director, Retired, 2002-2008) (Acting 2014)

“Welcome to the Patuxent Wildlife Research Center established by President Franklin D. Roosevelt as the nation's first wildlife research station through an Executive Order in 1936. The research and wildlife conservation mission were created as the Patuxent Research Refuge and this relationship continues today as the close partnership between the U.S. Geological Survey and U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service. Great conservation icons, such as J. N. “Ding” Darling and Dr. Ira Gabrielson were instrumental in establishing Patuxent and investing in America’s great conservation future even as the country was in the midst of the Great Depression. Dr. Lucille Stickel, became Center Director in 1972 and played a major role in elucidating the impacts of chemicals, such as DDT, on America’s wildlife. New directions in wildlife science that support adaptive management and structured decision making (SDM) have been developed by Patuxent scientists, and the Center has had a long history of research that supports endangered species recovery. Our vision and mission define our purpose and direction and working with our partners is our approach to ensuring relevant, high quality science supports society’s needs and our role as a Federal research institution.

Patuxent evolved from its origin in the U.S. Biological Survey to its current position as one of 17 Biological Research Centers of the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS), the natural resources research arm of the Department of the Interior (DOI). The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, through the National Wildlife Refuge System, administers the Patuxent Research Refuge.

Scientists at Patuxent have made great contributions to our society and some have become icons, such as Lucille Stickel, while others have made significant contributions but have not been in the limelight for their seminal work such as Jim Nichols and Chandler Robbins.

I invite you to explore our center's history and information presented in the pages to follow.”

Greg Smith (Center Director, 2009-2014)


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