The late CALS wildlife ecology professor Joseph J. Hickey, the successor to Aldo Leopold’s faculty position at the UW-Madison, was celebrated last week at the Raptor Research Foundation’s annual conference. The celebration marked the 50th anniversary of a landmark gathering organized by Hickey on the global status of the peregrine falcon, now known as 1965 Madison Peregrine Conference.
That conference, a highlight of Hickey’s career, helped establish the peregrine falcon as a symbol of how synthetic chlorinated hydrocarbons like the pesticide DDT had become a ubiquitous threat to wildlife worldwide. It set in motion events, led by Hickey, that led to a ban of DDT in Wisconsin in 1970, and then later throughout the U.S., allowing for the eventual recovery of the peregrine falcon.
More information about Hickey’s career and the concerns that spurred the Madison Peregrine Conference is available in this wonderful blog post written for the 50th anniversary commemoration by Stan Temple, UW Beers-Bascom Professor Emeritus in Conservation and Hickey’s successor.