The 2018 Distinguished Scholar Award recipient is Dr. John Castrale

Dr. John Castrale is a Wildlife Biologist with the Indiana Division of Fish and Wildlife. Since 2015, he has been under contract to monitor, manage, and band peregrine falcons and to conduct bat surveys. Previously, Dr. Castrale had a long and distinguished career as a Nongame Wildlife Biologist, Indiana Division of Fish and Wildlife, a position from which he retired in 2014. In that position, he had statewide responsibilities for programs dealing with nongame and endangered birds. Primary projects included restoration of peregrine falcons, bald eagles and osprey; management of least terns, black terns and sandhill cranes; surveys of barn owls, loggerhead shrikes, and colonial waterbirds; and completion and publication of the Indiana Breeding Bird Atlas. He was also state coordinator for the USGS Breeding Bird Survey and state contact for national and regional bird conservation plans.
Dr. Castrale holds a Ph.D. degree in Zoology from Brigham Young University, Provo, UT, with major in Wildlife and Range Resources. His dissertation research focused on the ecology of passerine birds and small mammals in managed sagebrush-grasslands. John grew up in Evansville, Indiana, and attended Indiana University for a year before transferring to Purdue and receiving a B.S. in Wildlife Science. He pursued graduate work at West Virginia University where he studied the ecology of mourning doves in South Carolina. He has authored or co-authored over 70 scientific publications and reports, the majority of which are from the research that he conducted during his 33 years of service with IDNR. In addition to his numerous publications, John has volunteered his time and expertise by educating hundreds of school children and college students, and he has given numerous newspaper and televisions interviews during the course of his career.
The name, John Castrale, is synonymous with the recovery efforts by the Indiana Department of Natural Resources (IDNR) to bring back breeding populations of Bald Eagles and Peregrine Falcons to Indiana as both species were extirpated from the state. In recognition of his work, John received the Sagamore of the Wabash award by Governor Mike Pence on February 29, 2016, for his lifetime achievement as a nongame wildlife biologist. The Sagamore of the Wabash is the “Official State Award of Indiana” given to those who have rendered a distinguished service to the state or to the governor. Other awards include: Lifetime Conservationist Award from the Sassafras Audubon Society, Hoosier Wildlife Award from the Indiana Chapter of the Wildlife Society, DNR Staff Person of the year from the Indiana Wildlife Federation, and Biologist of the year from Indiana Division of Fish and Wildlife, to name a few.
Dr. Castrale has been a long and active supporter of the Academy. He was named a Fellow of the Academy in 1998 and has been Section Chair of Zoology, and served on the Biological Survey Committee. He has published regularly in the Proceedings of the Indiana Academy of ScienceDr. John Castrale is a premier example of a distinguished scholar based on his research record and educational and service efforts to the State of Indiana and we are honored to bestow upon him the Indiana Academy of Science Distinguished Scholar Award.
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