CSCC Alum Jim Evans Receives Lifetime Achievement Award

CSCC Alum Jim Evans Receives Lifetime Achievement Award

Holly Vincent
Tuesday, June 20, 2017 12:00 AM
Academics, Community, All

When CSCC alum Jim Evans enrolled at Cleveland State Community College years ago, he didn’t realize that would be the first step to a productive career in wildlife resources. Fast forward a few decades, Evans is the recent winner of the Lifetime Achievement Award from the Tennessee Chapter of the Wildlife Society.

The Lifetime Achievement Award is bestowed upon a wildlife professional for outstanding contributions to their field within the state of Tennessee over the course of their career. Awardees may be practitioners in research, education, management, conservation, law enforcement or legislation, but must have demonstrated excellence in their field related to wildlife in the state of Tennessee over the course of their career.

“I would recommend CSCC to anyone, particularly if you are undecided about a career choice, but if you have a passion for hunting, fishing or any kind of wildlife resources, CSCC is a great place to start. You can get your fundamentals, your gen ed (general education) classes at the same time you are getting involved with Robert Brewer and CSCC’s Wildlife Society.”

“Jim was always willing to give students a chance to experience hands-on learning on various hunts at Oak Ridge Wildlife Management Area (WMA),” stated Robert Brewer, Associate Professor of Biology / Wildlife Society Advisor.

“He began his college career at Cleveland State long before we had a wildlife program, and was very willing to allow CSCC students to work various hunts at Oak Ridge WMA when we did start a program. He also spent many days teaching the animal damage control segment of our Introduction to Forestry, Wildlife and Fisheries course. Jim was truly an asset to the TWRA and to the students he helped over the years.”

For over three decades, Jim Evans managed the Oak Ridge Wildlife Management Area while working for the Tennessee Wildlife Resources Agency. After a successful 38 year career with TWRA, he retired in 2016 and began full time trapping work at the Y-12 National Security Complex in Oak Ridge. His work at Y-12 is of national importance. He has made numerous scientific contributions during his tenure, which can be found in journal articles, reports and other documents on a range of topics from songbirds to deer-vehicle collisions. He has conducted Partners in Flight breeding bird surveys on the ORR site since their inception in 1995, and in 2014, Evans co-wrote an 80-page technical manuscript documenting a rare species of birds ever known to have occurred on the ORR. In 2015, his work on early succession habitat for migratory birds garnered a winning final-four submittal put forth by the U.S. DOE for the Presidential Migratory Bird Award.

Despite his many academic achievements, Evans said the most rewarding part of his career was meeting his wife, Margaret Murray-Evans.

“My career has been very interesting and a lot of fun,” said Evans. “But, more importantly, I was able to meet my wife in this profession. Her family hunted and fished. It takes a lot to be married to someone in this profession. You can sometimes have very odd hours and odd schedules, working nights, weekends and holidays, but my wife and my daughter, Erin, and our families have been very supportive.”

Evans said other than mandatory meetings and trainings, FWF professionals are able to make their own schedule.

“If you are doing your job right, nobody says anything. I know officers with TWRA that have started projects like hunting and fishing clubs and other projects in school systems on their own initiative. The TWRA will not stand in your way if this is something you want to do. I remember asking my supervisor if I could do something one time, and he said, ‘Of course you can. My problem is getting people to work; I’m not going to stand in the way of people who want to do it. Just do it.”’

Looking back on his career, Evans can’t help but think of the strange animals that people have tried to keep as pets. From, snakes to lions and even alligators, he has had to deal with them all.

“I have had to go deal with issues like that. Every law enforcement officer has had those kinds of stories. I had a call one time that a guy was keeping a cobra inside his house. He called to ask if I knew of a veterinarian who could remove the snake’s poison glands. When people want to keep these weird animals as pets—I just find that so bizarre.”

Because of the significant growth in the Forestry, Wildlife and Fisheries (FWF) program, the college has chosen to add a new faculty member to this program that will allow more course offerings. The FWF program is a transfer program that allows students the opportunity to work with professionals from several state, federal, and private entities during their first two years of college. During their time in this program, students will be able to explore the variety of jobs associated with the Forestry, Wildlife, and Fisheries field.

CSCC is the only two-year school in Tennessee with a student chapter of The Wildlife Society. Membership in this student chapter allows students to meet with and compete against senior institutions. It also allows students to meet with and discuss their future with advisors from senior institutions.

The college’s Wildlife Society just returned from a Student Wildlands Adventure Program (SWAP) that allowed students to go to New Mexico. This is one of the programs run through the new Greg A. Vital Center for Natural Resources and Conservation, the first named academic program at the college.

For more information on CSCC’s FWF programs or the CSCC Wildlife Society, contact Brewer at (423) 473-2342 or by email at



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