Former MSU professor to lead 2006 Carlton Owen lecture


Back to News

Posted: 4/13/2006


A retired Mississippi State biology professor who now teaches in Florida will be featured April 24 as part of the university's ongoing Carlton N. Owen Lecture Series.

Jerome A. "Jerry" Jackson's 1:30 p.m. public presentation in the Tully Auditorium of Thompson Hall will be followed by a reception in the same location. An ornithologist, he joined Florida Gulf Coast University in Naples after a career of teaching and research in MSU's biological sciences department.

The Owen Lecture Series was established in the College of Forest Resources in 1992 by the Greenville, S.C., resident and 1974 and 1976 MSU graduate for whom it is named. The program focuses on forest resource stewardship issues.

Jackson's presentation will examine the recently reported emergence in eastern Arkansas of the ivory-billed woodpecker, among the world's most endangered birds. Part of a federally sponsored "ivory-billed" search team back in the 1980s, he will review the biological history of the mammoth--average three-foot wingspan--bird, as well as examine the scientific evidence and research processes associated with the latest discovery effort.

Jackson's professional expertise focuses largely on forest ecosystems and woodpeckers, especially the endangered red-cockaded and ivory-billed woodpeckers. He has written or edited more than 20 books and 300 articles in both professional and popular publications.

"In Search of the Ivory-billed Woodpecker," among his most recent works, was released by Smithsonian Books in 2004. A second edition is scheduled for release next month.

During the latter part of an MSU career that began in 1970, Jackson was co-host of "Southern Outdoors," a popular nature-oriented program produced weekly by WCBI-TV, the CBS affiliate in Columbus. He now is featured daily on "With the Wild Things," a public radio program heard throughout Southwest Florida.

In addition to his Florida university duties, Jackson serves on the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service's Red-cockaded Woodpecker, Ivory-billed Woodpecker and South Florida Ecosystems Endangered Species recovery teams, as well as on the agency's National Invasive Species Advisory Committee.

For his long years of service to the profession, he has been honored with the rank of Fellow by the American Association for the Advancement of Science, American Ornithologists' Union and the Explorer's Club.

While at MSU, he received the Mississippi Science Teachers Association's 1992 Outstanding College Teacher Award.

Jackson's wife Bette also is an ornithologist and former MSU faculty member.

For additional information on the 2006 Owen Lecture, contact Karen Brasher at (662) 325-8530 or

Deans Office