Adjunct Professor Kristen Beck receives Cardinal Award from the Ohio Department of Natural Resources

File Under: Academic Excellence

Each year at the Ohio State Fair, Ohioans who have dedicated their livelihoods to conservation – specifically the preservation of Ohio’s natural resources— receive top honors from the Ohio Department of Natural Resources (ODNR).

This year, adjunct professor in Department of the Natural Sciences, Kristen Beck, received the Cardinal Award. This award honors individuals and organizations that demonstrate exceptional awareness and concern for shared ideals of the ODNR: to ensure a balance between the wise use of and protection of our natural resources for the benefit of all.

“I have never met a more dedicated, skilled and caring wildlife professional,” said Associate Professor of Biology Jason Courter, Ph.D., chair of the Department of Natural Sciences. “Kristen works tirelessly to provide professional and compassionate care for animals and has mentored, educated, and inspired countless students, colleagues, and community members.  She is truly deserving of this award and we are so fortunate to have her at Malone.”

Beck began at Malone as the Director of Live Animal Collections in 2013 and began teaching on campus in 2014. She is passionate about educating others about wildlife and mitigating human-wildlife conflicts to help protect our natural resources. Beck was the recipient of the Distinguished Faculty Award for Adjunct Teaching in 2020. She has been an active member of the Ohio Wildlife Rehabilitator Association board since 2001, serving as a board member from 2010-22 and as president from 2016-22. Beck was also instrumental in launching Malone’s Wildlife Rehabilitation minor in 2021, which is one of the only programs of its kind in the country.

"As an Ohio Division of Wildlife-licensed wildlife rehabilitator, I believe that aiding the part of God’s creation that is totally helpless without intervention from compassionate human beings is one of the tasks I am called to do,” she said. “I strive to be both a spiritual and practical example of what it looks like to live with this calling: sharing my skills and my deep desire to reveal a beautiful part of God’s creation to people who are missing it. Our students share the same passion and are searching for their own ways to align their beliefs with their callings. In a professional field that’s comprised of many non-believers, our students must be strong and equipped to be a light in the world, living a life that is pleasing to God. This is my prayer and why God has placed me at Malone. I am honored to be here."

Beck has been rehabilitating native wildlife since the early 1990s. In 2011, she established North Canton’s Clover Field Wildlife Center and operates it herself without the assistance of other staff. She has been instrumental in conservation efforts around the state by rehabilitating species of concern such as the gray fox and four different species of bats. In 2022, her donation-based rehab center admitted almost 900 injured, orphaned, or ill animals.