LCC Inreach and Collaborator Recognition at FWS Resource Village
The Gulf Coastal Plains and Ozarks, Gulf Coast Prairie, Peninsular Florida, South Atlantic, and Caribbean LCCs, along with representatives from the Southeast Conservation Adaptation Strategy were invited to participate in a Resource Village at the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (FWS) Southeast Region Fit for the Future of Conservation Project Leaders training in Chattanooga, TN in late July. The Resource Village was designed to align with the One Service theme of the training, and consisted of informational booths to raise awareness and encourage interaction among FWS staff and conservation partners in the LCCs, Joint Ventures, SECAS, Southeast Aquatic Resources Partnership, the Gulf of Mexico Restoration Program, Southeast Communications, the National Wildlife Refuge Association, At-Risk Species and many more programs.
The Village was a tremendous success, with many in-depth discussions centered on the importance of collaboration and partnership under the Once Service vision. The LCCs were given the opportunity to showcase how their work in conservation science and planning across larger scales is critical to the future sustainability of fish and wildlife resources in the Southeast, and demonstrate how that work can tie in directly with conservation action on the ground. The interactions also highlighted the importance of incorporating expertise of FWS resource managers into regional conservation planning efforts to better reflect the realities of resource management.
Refuge Manager of the Year and other awards
During the training Cindy Dohner, Southeast Regional FWS Director, also recognized several outstanding FWS conservationists working in the GCPO geography including congratulations to the core team of the multi-LCC Gulf Coast Vulnerability Assessment project as the inaugural recipient of Sam D. Hamilton Award for Transformative Conservation Science.
Dr. Keith Weaver, Project Leader for the Central Arkansas National Wildlife Refuge Complex, and GCPO LCC ASMT member was also awarded the prestigious 2016 Paul Kroegel Refuge Manager of the Year by the National Wildlife Refuge Association for his nationally-recognized excellence in leadership and vision during his 31 years of dedicated service to FWS.
Jason Duke, FWS Southeast Regional GIS Coordinator and close collaborator with the GCPO LCC and SECAS was also recognized for several outstanding awards for his contribution to GIS science in the state of Tennessee.
Finally, Stephen Ricks, Field Supervisor for the Mississippi Ecological Services Field Office was recognized for his involvement in the award-winning Youth Education in Science (YES) program in collaboration with Mississippi State University. The GCPO LCC offers our sincere congratulations to all these outstanding conservationists and appreciation for their partnership and engagement in GCPO conservation planning efforts. We also congratulate the other individuals recognized at the training for their outstanding service.