The Marion Jenkinson Service Award for 2012 has been presented to Alan H. Brush. He has been a member for more than 50 years and has been involved with the AOU since the first Marcia Brady Tucker Travel Award that facilitated his attendance at the annual meeting in Gainesville, Florida. Alan believes that the returns on his investment in the AOU have greatly exceeded any costs in time and energy. He reminds us that we were all beginners once and that ornithology must be approached with a beginner's mind. That was certainly the case for Alan. Beginners ask beginners’ questions. Questions are directed toward the experts in the professional society, and they, in turn, provide direction, encouragement, and advice. What better way, then, to give back to that community than to participate?
Early on, in addition to papers, posters, and conferences, Alan served on the AOU Awards Committee (the only two then were Brewster and Coues) and the Publications Committee. He was elected to the Council in the late 1970s and was selected as editor, along with George Clark, Jr., to develop and publish Perspectives in Ornithology: Essays Presented for the Centennial of the American Ornithologists’ Union. Copies were presented to all in attendance.
In the early 1980s, Alan was appointed editor of The Auk and was responsible for the publication of volumes 102–108. In those days, the editor also served as an unelected member of the Council. One reason for this arrangement was that the budget for the publication was the AOU's single largest expense. Alan managed to increase the total page count and the number of manuscripts accepted while minimizing office expenses. All this in the time before e-mail, pdf's, digital anything, with no Board of Associate Editors, with a single assistant and Allan Press, which provided everything from keyboarding, printing (from real type), mailing, distribution, and storage. As a Council member, he suggested that the AOU create a Meritorious Service Award to accompany the research awards and name it in honor of Marion Jenkinson, a long-term AOU treasurer and activist.
In 2004, Alan was elected vice president. Subsequently, when convinced he should assume the chair of the Memorials Committee, he simultaneously became associate editor for Memorials. This was an unprecedented combination and quite productive. He stepped down from these posts in 2012. In addition, Alan served for 40 years as an active member of the Chapman Committee of the American Museum of Natural History. Professional associations, in his view, are key in the dynamics and progress of science. Besides the contacts for myriad research possibilities, the AOU provides social connections, mentoring, and opens doors into the larger professional community. Giving back has certainly been its own reward.
Award criteria.—The Marion A. Jenkinson AOU Service Award was created by the Council in 1996 to honor Marion Jenkinson Mengel, who served the AOU as treasurer and in other capacities for many years. It is awarded to an individual who has performed continued extensive service to the AOU, including holding elected offices but emphasizing volunteered contributions and committee participation. Recipients are selected by the AOU Executive Committee. The award consists of a framed certificate.