New Wildlife Conservation Scholarship to Honor Retired Professor Dr. James Bailey

From bighorn sheep to wild bison, Dr. James “Jim” Bailey has spent a lifetime studying and working to conserve big game in North America. Now, two of his former graduate students have started a fundraising campaign to ensure his passion for wildlife research is passed on to future CSU students through the Dr. James A. and Nan Bailey Wildlife Conservation Scholarship.
“When I first heard about the scholarship, I was close to tears. To know that my students appreciated me as much as I have appreciated them - it’s an honor,” said Bailey.
Now retired and living in Montana, Bailey was a distinguished faculty member in the Department of Fish, Wildlife, and Conservation Biology at Colorado State University from 1969 to 1989.  His research and teaching focused on wildlife conservation, big game management, and wildlife nutrition – with a special emphasis on mountain ungulates, such as bighorn sheep. Bailey also taught several summer field course classes at Pingree Park Mountain Campus and spent a lot of time working in mountain field sites with graduate students.
“One of my favorite experiences as a professor was taking students, both undergrads and graduates, to the backcountry,” said Bailey. “Especially for students who came from cities, getting to take them backpacking in Rocky Mountain National Park and sharing wilderness and wildlife with them was so rewarding.”
According to his former students, Bailey gave generously of his time and expertise to advise both undergraduate and graduate students studying wildlife biology. His wife, Nan, also provided his students with enthusiastic encouragement as well as many home-cooked meals. The care and support Bailey and his wife gave to students created an enduring extended family that remains in touch today.
CSU wildlife biology alumni Eric Rominger and Layne Adams created the scholarship to honor their professor, and the first $1,000 scholarship will be awarded to a graduate student in CSU’s Warner College of Natural Resources in the 2014-2015 academic year. Eligible scholarship applicants must maintain a 3.25 cumulative GPA or higher, be enrolled in the Department of Fish, Wildlife, and Conservation Biology, and be studying ecology of native western North American ungulates. Rominger and Adams’ goal is to raise enough contributions to endow the scholarship in Bailey’s name at a minimum of $25,000 to guarantee the scholarship will sustain in perpetuity.

Bailey thinks it is an important and impactful endeavor.
“Wildlife conservation programs are increasingly important as we continue to lose habitat and species and face greater challenges,” said Bailey. “As state funding declines, I hope this scholarship will help maintain CSU’s strong focus and reputation for big game conservation, and provide graduate students with support to pursue in-depth, critical research.”

Although he is retired from formal teaching, Bailey remains an active leader in wildlife research and outreach and recently published “American Plains Bison: Rewilding an Icon.” The book was inspired by Bailey’s interest in Yellowstone Park’s growing bison herd – which is the only remaining herd of plains bison to have never been captive – and the future of wild bison. Bailey set out on a cross country investigation of 44 conservation bison herds and analyzed the domestication of bison that is occurring in the United States and its impacts on the species.
To make a contribution to the James A. and Nan Bailey Wildlife Conservation Scholarship, visit: or call (970) 491-1902.

Posted on Dec. 16, 2013 b
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