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Two women sit on a bench with a map of Oklahoma
Rich Fuller/ODWC

Biologist Melynda Hickman, right, pictured with JoAnn Duck Teter, holding "A Game Type Map of Oklahoma" created by Oklahoma Game and Fish Department Biologists Lester Duck and Jack Fletcher. 

October 31, 2022, marks the end of the productive and impactful professional career of our friend and colleague Melynda Hickman. As we say our goodbyes and express our heart-felt appreciation for Mel, we can never really put into words all she has meant for the Wildlife Department and its Wildlife Diversity Program.

Melynda was hired by the Wildlife Department in August 1990 as a Natural Resources Biologist after earning a B.S. degree in Biology from Appalachian State University. She has been an inspiring and positive force on her coworkers, constituents, and the public from the very beginning. Melynda has dedicated her career to helping people make personal connections with nature, and to educating the public about the amazing natural resources of Oklahoma.

A great example of her selfless service to the public and the wildlife resource is the past 25 years of hard work, sweat and tears that she has invested in the Selman Bat Watch Program to provide memorable experiences with nature to our citizens. Melynda has also poured her heart and soul into the Hackberry Flat Educational Center since the early 2000’s when the natural basin land was restored into a Wildlife Management Area.  Mel has provided wonderful nature experiences to thousands of citizens by providing birding tours, nature tours, monarch tagging, and other outreach and education efforts. She brought experiences with nature to our citizens through the development of the Oklahoma Wildscapes Program, guiding gardeners and landscapers in effective ways to attract diverse wildlife to native plants to be viewed and enjoyed.

During her career at the Wildlife Department, Mel has been deservedly recognized for her work, earning accolades in the form of highly prestigious awards. In 1997 she was presented with the Wendell Bever Award by the Oklahoma Wildlife Federation for her impressive conservation work in the state, and in 2011 she was recognized as the Wildlife Department’s Wildlife Division Biologist of the Year. More recently, in 2018, Mel received the coveted Biologist of the Year Award from the Southeastern Association of Fish and Wildlife Agencies, an award recognizing the impressive work of a single wildlife or fisheries biologist among the thousands working in the natural resources field in southeastern United States.

Melynda is an agency treasure, one of our shining stars. Her enduring dedication to the Wildlife Diversity Program spanning thirty-plus years has opened the eyes and hearts of our citizens to see and feel the positive experiences of our diverse natural resources. Mel has been one of our hardest working employees, and has always done so with sheer joy and an infectiously positive attitude. We are fortunate to have had Mel represent the Wildlife Department, and we wish her all the best as she embarks on the next adventures of her life in retirement. Thanks for all you have done Mel and we will miss you!

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