In One Month, Over 100 Years Of Expertise Exits MDIFW


Here’s a recent news release from the Department of Inland Fisheries and Wildlife.

Yesterday, The Department of Inland Fisheries and Wildlife said good bye to the third of three biologists who have retired in in the past month. Combined, this trio amassed over 100 years of experience with Maine’s woods and waters, protecting and enhancing the inland fisheries and wildlife resources of the state. They all will be missed.

Tom Schaeffer

Tom Schaeffer was a biologist in the department’s Downeast region and retired last month with over 40 years in the department.

One of Tom’s last field duties this year was conducting aerial bald eagle surveys. When Tom first began this job over forty years ago, eagles had just been placed on the endangered species list, with the remaining stronghold of eagles located Downeast. The number of nesting pairs were below 50 and there was wonder as to whether they would survive as a species in Maine. Today, there are over 720 nesting pairs in the state.

As a regional wildlife biologist Tom did a little (or a lot) of everything and did it well. Wildlife surveys, species management, environmental assessments, managing conserved lands in his region, public outreach, educating the public and mentoring others. Tom never asked anyone do anything he was not willing to do, and he always expected more of himself. He was constantly a model to all the biologists in the state; not just those he supervised.  Tom’s energy, work ethic, passion and dedication to the Department after 40 years was an inspiration to everyone on staff.  He was the sort of biologist we all hope to become.

Tom had a common-sense approach, and Tom got things done. Certainly after 40 years, he will be missed, but he made a tremendous lasting impact on those he worked with and Maine’s wildlife.

Nels Kramer

Nels Kramer began his career in 1982 in the Penobscot Region, stayed there his entire career and recently retired after 36 years.

Gordon Nelson Kramer, known to the department and many an angler simply as Nels retired last month after 36 years in the department, all of them based in the Enfield region. He began his career by badgering one of our hatchery personnel on how to get a job with the department in 1973, and went to college based upon advice received from another department staffer.

Nels was hired full time in 1982 in the Penobscot Region in Enfield, after working as winter census clerk starting in 1974 and doing research for the fisheries research division starting in 1977 while at UMaine-Orono.

Nels was instrumental in  the management of some of the state’s most recognized waters, including the portions of the Penobscot River, East Grand Lake, and numerous trout ponds in Baxter State Park.

His work was also instrumental in working to develop a hardier, wilder hatchery strain of brook trout for the department, based upon wild trout that he helped capture in Nsourdnahunk Lake outside of Baxter State Park.

Nels cultivated healthy working relationships with angling organizations, tribes, and Baxter State Park and has served as a strong role model and representative of the department.  Nels conveyed a genuine credibility, knowledge of the Penobscot region’s vast fisheries, a dedication to the agency, and a warm smile that will be missed by all who worked with Nels.

Lindsey Tudor

Lindsay Tudor has worked for the department for nearly 30 years as a wildlife biologist in the bird group, and during that time she has made an impact on Maine’s shorebirds.

In the early 80s, there were less than 10 nesting piping plovers in the state, and last year there were over 60 nesting pairs. More importantly, over 100 piping plover chicks took flight from Maine’s beaches, a stark contrast to the seven that took flight in the early 80s.

Lindsay was instrumental in shaping the department’s piping plover plan, increasing participation and involvement with towns, managing potential threats and increasing law enforcement presence in order to increase the nesting and fledgling numbers of this endangered shorebird. Lindsay’s patient, respectful approach to solving problems was instrumental in our ability to successfully manage an endangered species on private beaches in the most populated part of the state.

She also developed a long-term purple sandpiper monitoring plan, coordinated an Enhanced Shorebird Monitoring Program for southern Maine beaches, and has collaborated with UMO researchers and conducted a shorebird telemetry study in both Downeast Maine and in mid-coast Maine.

Lindsay leaves us with many species much better off due to her commitment, style and grace.

George Smith

About George Smith

George stepped down at the end of 2010 after 18 years as the executive director of the Sportsman’s Alliance of Maine to write full time. He writes a weekly editorial page column in the Kennebec Journal and Waterville Morning Sentinel, a weekly travel column in those same newspapers (with his wife Linda), monthly columns in The Maine Sportsman magazine, two outdoor news blogs (one on his website,, and one on the website of the Bangor Daily News), and special columns for many publications and newsletters. Islandport Press published a book of George's favorite columns, "A Life Lived Outdoors" in 2014. In 2014, George also won a Maine Press Association award for writing the state's bet sports blog. In 2016, Down East Books published George's book, Maine Sporting Camps, and Islandport Press published George and his wife Linda's travel book, Take It From ME, about their favorite Maine inns and restaurants.