Hutton Program History

The Hutton Junior Fisheries Biology Program was approved by the AFS Governing Board in 2000, and the Robert F. Hutton Endowment Fund was established to receive contributions to support the program.

The endowment fund was named in honor of the late Dr. Robert F. Hutton, who was the American Fisheries Society’s first Executive Director, serving from 1965 to 1972, and the AFS President from 1976 to 1977.

The original concept for the Hutton Program was developed by AFS members Ken Beal and Gene Fritz, who were honored at the 134th AFS Annual Meeting with the Society’s Distinguished Service Award for their contributions in establishing the program.

Since its inception in 2001, the Hutton Program has provided scholarships and a mentoring experience in fisheries biology to 292 students. The majority of these students were mentored in the Continental United States; however, recent classes have included students in Canada, and Mexico.

With increased funding from the program’s financial partners, the program has grown from 23 students in the Class of 2001 to 35 students in the Class of 2008. The students mentored in this program gain an awareness of conservation issues and the importance of healthy aquatic systems; participate in projects that benefit habitat restoration, protection, and management; and gain an understanding of what is involved in being a fisheries biologist and of the career opportunities available in the field.

For most students, the Hutton Program also is their first exposure to a professional work setting. They learn what qualities are necessary to be successful in this environment and the importance of being part of a team effort. Now many of these students are seriously considering a career in fisheries science. 63% of 2008 students said they are planning to study fisheries in college.

AFS looks forward to providing this unique educational experience to many more students in the coming years!

If you or your organization would like to provide financial support for the Hutton Program, please contact the Hutton Program Coordinator.