The Borderlands Research Institute (BRI) at Sul Ross State University announces that Dr. Ryan Luna has been appointed to the newly created Kelly R. Thompson Professorship in Quail Research. The professorship was established earlier this year by Texas Parks and Wildlife Foundation in honor of Kelly R. Thompson, who served as chair of its board of trustees for six years. Thompson also serves on BRI’s advisory board.
   Luna has served as a research scientist with BRI and an assistant professor of Wildlife Management in the Department of Natural Resource Management at Sul Ross since 2013. He earned his master’s degree from University of Texas at San Antonio, and a PhD from Texas State University. After receiving his bachelor’s degree from Texas Tech University, Luna worked as a game warden for New Mexico Department of Game and Fish until he returned to Texas to begin his master’s and doctoral work.
   “Since Ryan’s arrival at BRI, he has been a workhorse in the classroom and in the research arena,” said Dr. Louis Harveson, the Dan Allen Hughes, Jr., BRI Endowed Director and professor of Wildlife Management at Sul Ross.
“Ryan dove in head first with our Desert Quail Research Program,” said Harveson. “The financial investment from TPWF and the creation of the Thompson Professorship will help us sustain and grow our quail conservation efforts.”
   For almost 10 years, Borderlands Research Institute has been adding to the scientific knowledge base about West Texas wildlife. From learning more about mule deer and scaled quail to working to restore pronghorn to the Trans-Pecos, BRI has made a lot of progress in a few short years. The institute is a partnership between the university’s Range and Wildlife Management Program, private landowners and state, federal and non-governmental organizations, including Texas Parks and Wildlife Foundation.
   Besides his leadership role at TPWF and BRI, Thompson chairs the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department’s Upland Game Bird Advisory Committee. He has spent much of his adult life dedicated to conservation. The named professorship is the second for BRI. The Dan Allen Hughes, Jr., Endowed Director and Professor of Wildlife Management was created in 2012. Since BRI only gets about ten percent of its funding from the university, these named positions provide critical sustainable funding.
   “I’ve had the privilege to work with Mr. Thompson the last couple of years as we have served together on the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department’s Upland Gamebird Advisory Committee,” said Luna. “He’s a strong leader and is certainly passionate about quail.  I’m honored to carry his name and we’re grateful for his support of BRI.”
   For more than a decade, the Borderlands Research Institute has encouraged effective land stewardship of the Chihuahuan Desert. Housed at Sul Ross State University, the Borderlands Research Institute builds on a long-lasting partnership with private landowners, the university’s Range and Wildlife Program, and cooperating state, federal, and non-governmental organizations. Through research, education, and outreach, the Borderlands Research Institute is helping to conserve the last frontier of Texas and the Southwest.

Dr. Ryan Luna teaching Wildlife Management Techniques at Sul Ross. (Photo by Steve Lang)