News  MassWildlife staff honored

Current and former MassWildlife staff were recognized for their contributions to fisheries and wildlife conservation.
  • Division of Fisheries and Wildlife

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Jim Cardoza receives award

Jim Cardoza

Robert McDowell Award for Conservation Management Excellence

jim cardoza with bear cubs

The Robert McDowell Award is the highest honor presented by the Directors of the Northeast Association of Fish and Wildlife Agencies to honor career professionals who have made significant contributions to advance fish and wildlife conservation in the Northeastern United States and eastern Canadian Provinces. Jim Cardoza, retired MassWildlife Biologist, was presented with this award at the 79th annual Northeast Fish and Wildlife Conference hosted by MassWildlife on Cape Cod in April.

Cardoza’s accomplishments during his long tenure as a wildlife biologist in Massachusetts are impressive. Notably, he was the key architect of the restoration of wild turkeys in the Northeast. Turkeys were absent in Massachusetts until reintroduction efforts began in the late 1960s. Today, Massachusetts’ wild turkey population is estimated at around 35,000 birds! Jim also pioneered innovative methods for studying black bears and became one of the country’s leading experts on this species. He shared his expertise by publishing dozens of peer-reviewed articles and presenting at professional conferences ensuring that other wildlife professionals had access to the latest wildlife management methods and research results.

This honor took on special significance since Mr. Cardoza accepted the Robert McDowell Award at his 50th Northeast Fish and Wildlife Conference.


Susan Langlois

William T. Hesselton Memorial Award

sue langlois teaching shooting

Every year, a group of wildlife professionals from 13 Northeast states nominate an individual who has made significant contributions to wildlife conservation and to wildlife management and hunter training programs. Susan Langlois, MassWildlife’s Hunter Education Program Administrator, received the William T. Hesselton Memorial Award at the Northeast Fish and Wildlife Conference. Langlois has dedicated her career to the conservation of Massachusetts wildlife and to providing top-notch instruction to the sporting community. Drawing on her expertise as a biologist, Susan has become an advocate for science-based wildlife management and a national leader in developing modern hunter education program standards. She helped develop a national trapper education course and is an instructor and advisory member for the national Conservation Leaders for Tomorrow program.


Leanda Fontaine

2023 Sportsperson of the Year

Leanda Fontaine with a carp

Leanda Fontaine, MassWildlife’s Western District Aquatic Biologist, was named Sportsperson of the Year for 2023. The award was given by the Berkshire County League of Sportsmen at an event in April. During her nearly 20 years with MassWildlife, Fontaine has been involved with a variety of statewide fisheries research and conservation projects. In her current role, she oversees fisheries projects in western Massachusetts, plans trout stocking activities and public stocking events, and supports learn-to-fish classes in the Berkshires. Leanda has implemented several successful invasive water chestnut removal projects, contributes her knowledge to lake and pond management discussions, and is the MassWildlife representative on the interagency scientific dive team.

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  • Division of Fisheries and Wildlife 

    MassWildlife is responsible for the conservation of freshwater fish and wildlife in the Commonwealth, including endangered plants and animals. MassWildlife restores, protects, and manages land for wildlife to thrive and for people to enjoy.
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