Growing up in a rural area of Minnesota, Clement N. Klaphake always enjoyed the outdoors, developing a great interest in identifying birds in the wilderness. Drawing upon a Bachelor of Science from St. Cloud State University, he took an anthropology class as an elective, where he was provided opportunities to attend field trips and study wildlife. From there, he decided to pursue his interests full-time on an educational basis, and began teaching high school students in Canada from 1965 to 1966. Returning to the United States, he taught in the public school system in Canby, Minnesota, from 1966 to 1968 before enlisting in the United States Army. He served in the Army, achieving an E-6 rank, until his discharge in 1970.
Subsequently, Mr. Klaphake earned a Master of Arts from the University of Northern Colorado in 1971 and began teaching as a professor of sociology, anthropology and environmental science at Bellevue University in Nebraska the same year. Remaining in his prestigious role for 39 years, he retired in 2010. Alongside his primary endeavors, he has also participated in several wildlife organizations, such as the Conservation Roundtable of Nebraska, as well as the board of directors of the Fontenelle Forest Association in Bellevue, Nebraska, from 1995 to 1996. Mr. Klaphake is a volunteer of the Hitchcock Nature Center, where he does hawk-watching every fall since 2002. Additionally, he conducts breeding bird surveys for the United States Department of the Interior.
In light of his outstanding credentials and service to academia and wildlife conservation, Mr. Klaphake received an Outstanding Volunteer Award from the Fontenelle Forest Association for 39 years of service in 2019. He has maintained membership with similar organizations throughout the years, such as the National Audubon Society, Nature Conservancy, the National Parks Conservation Association, the North American Butterfly Association, the International Crane Foundation, the International Wolf Center and Hawk Watch International, among others.
Although his career has been filled with highlights, Mr. Klaphake is especially proud of his volunteer work. Looking toward the future, he would like to go on birding trips across the globe.