Russ Mason

Russ Mason

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Michigan DNR Executive in Residence and Adjunct Associate Professor
Department of Fisheries and Wildlife


Michigan DNR Executive in Residence and Adjunct Professor

Dr, Russ Mason is the Michigan Department of Natural Resources’ (DNR) Executive in Residence at Michigan State University.  He advises the DNR Director and assists in the implementation of programs critical to the mission of the DNR related to wildlife and natural resources management.  Russ is the DNR’s University and External Partnerships Liaison, with responsibility for the support, maintenance and expansion of strategic relationships with universities and other institutional partners.  Russ also serves as the DNR representative to the Mississippi Flyway Council and chairs the Association of Fish and Wildlife Agencies’ Science and Research Committee.

Dr. Mason has always been interested in preparing the next generation of wildlife professionals and held teaching appointments in a variety of areas (e.g., wildlife, biology, animal science, physiology, zoology, psychology) at multiple institutions (e.g., University of Pennsylvania, Rutgers University, Utah State University, University of Wyoming, University of Nevada). As an adjunct faculty member at Michigan State University since 2009, Russ has taught seminars on the art and science of wildlife management.

Background.  From 2008-2019, Dr. Mason served as the Chief of the DNR’s Wildlife Division.  Prior to that role, Russ was the Wildlife Chief for the Nevada Department of Wildlife (2005-2008), Science Advisor to the Association of Fish and Wildlife Agencies in Washington, D.C. (2004-2005), and Mammals Program Manager for the USDA’s National Wildlife Research Center, Ft. Collins Colorado (2001-2004). From 1995-2001, Dr. Mason served as the Director of the USDA Predation Ecology Field Station at Utah State University and from 1986-1995, he supervised the USDA’s Chemical Ecology Laboratory at the Monell Chemical Senses Center, University of Pennsylvania.

Dr. Mason holds a bachelor’s degree in psychology from DePauw University, a master’s degree in animal learning from Clark University and a Ph.D. in chemical ecology from Clark University.  Post-doctoral training included stints at the Worcester Foundation for Experimental Biology (sensory electrophysiology), Brown University (physical chemistry), and the Monell Chemical Senses Center (taxonomic differences in chemical irritation).