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Dr. Rick Kaminski

Dr. Rick Kaminski, Director, James C. Kennedy Waterfowl & Wetlands Conservation Center

Dr. Rick Kaminski joined the faculty of Clemson University’s Belle W. Baruch Institute of Coastal Ecology and Forest Science in June 2015, after retiring from Mississippi State University (MSU) where he was a faculty member since 1983.  Rick has mentored over 40 graduate students at MSU after working four years as a research biologist for Ducks Unlimited-Canada and graduating from Michigan State University (M.S. and Ph.D., 1975 and 1979) and University of Wisconsin-Stevens Point (B.S., 1972). Rick has taught courses at MSU on waterfowl ecology and management, wetlands ecology and management, wildlife techniques, wildlife management field practices, and professional communications.

At Clemson, he teaches waterfowl and wetlands ecology and management.  He and his students and colleagues have published widely on waterfowl and wetlands ecology and conservation, including a book and a Wildlife Monograph both of which received publication awards from The Wildlife Society (TWS). TWS also recognized Rick as a Fellow in 2007 and with the Caesar Kleberg Award of Excellence for applied wildlife research in 2009. Ducks Unlimited awarded him a life-time conservation achievement award in 2006. He also was named by Outdoor Life magazine in 2008 to a group of 25 North Americans who have made significant contributions to hunting and wildlife conservation. In 1994, Rick was selected by the Mississippi Wildlife Federation as Wildlife Conservationist of the Year for his and Dr. Brian Gray’ s research and outreach on illegal waterfowl hunting in the Mississippi Flyway. In the 1990s, Rick served as associate editor for The Journal of Wildlife Management and Wildlife Society Bulletin, and he has been honored by MSU multiple times for his contributions to teaching, research, and service.

In 2013, Rick received the Clarence W. Watson award at the Southeastern Fish and Wildlife Annual Conference and the 2012 national Blue-winged Teal Award for the MSU waterfowl and wetlands program. Also while at MSU, he was instrumental in attracting philanthropic gifts for establishment of The James C. Kennedy Endowed Chair in Waterfowl and Wetlands Conservation, the James C. Kennedy Endowed Undergraduate/Graduate Student Scholarship, the Scenic Homes’ Richard M. Kaminski’ Endowed Undergraduate Scholarship in Waterfowl and Wetlands, and the Carsie Clark and Diane Worthington Young Wetland Education Theater. Rick relaxes by managing wetlands for waterfowl and other wildlife, assisting with wetlands conservation and education, hunting waterfowl, and is a staunch fan of Clemson and MSU athletics. He and his wife, Loretta, live in Pawleys Island, SC and have two children (Shannon and Matt), a son-in-law, Neil, a daughter-in-law, Molly, and three grandchildren: Tanner, Penelope and Madison.  Spending time with their children and grandchildren is a delight of their lives.

Molly Kneece joins Kennedy Conservation Center as Clemson Research Specialist

Molly Kneece with Hen House

Molly joined the James C. Kennedy Waterfowl & Wetlands Conservation Center in March 2016. Molly grew up on her family’s farm in Gilbert, South Carolina where, as a youth, she began to develop an interest in wildlife and habitat management.  She attended Clemson University and earned a B.S. in Forest Resource Management in 2011 and a Master of Forest Resources in 2012.  While completing her Master’s, Molly began working as a technician with the Nemours Wildlife Foundation and Mississippi State University (MSU) on the first study of mottled duck nesting ecology in the Ashepoo, Combahee, and Edisto Rivers Basin (ACE Basin) in South Carolina.  During this time, Molly’s interest in waterfowl ecology and research deepened while she began to learn and refine field skills essential for waterfowl and wetlands research.  In August 2012, Molly began pursuing a M.S. in Wildlife Science at MSU where she developed the first study to investigate brood rearing ecology of mottled ducks in South Carolina, while continuing to study breeding ecology of the species under the direction of Drs. Brian Davis, Richard Kaminski, and Ernie Wiggers from 2012-2015.  During this study, Molly developed partnerships and often collaborated with the South Carolina Department of Natural Resources, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, Ducks Unlimited, and private landowners in the ACE Basin.  Molly’s research ultimately determined nest site selection, nest success, and social indices of breeding mottled ducks and coarse scale habitat use and survival of mottled duck broods in the ACE Basin.  Upon completion of her research, Molly graduated from MSU with a M.S. in Wildlife and Fisheries Science in May 2016.  Molly has presented numerous invited papers at scientific and outreach venues and has co-authored a scientific paper, “Annual Habitat Selection of Mottled Ducks in Coastal South Carolina,” in the Southeastern Association of Fish and Wildlife Agencies Journal.  Molly will be responsible for leading the aerial waterfowl and waterbird surveys in South Carolina and assist with developing a productive research and service program with Dr. Rick Kaminski and “Team Duck” members for the James C. Kennedy Waterfowl & Wetlands Conservation Center at the Belle W. Baruch Institute of Coastal Ecology and Forest Science.