Alligator River/Pea Island National Wildlife Refuge
P. O. Box 1969
Manteo, North Carolina 27954

Contact: Bonnie Strawser - 252-473-1131

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News Release

May 11, 2009

Bryant, Strawser Receive USFWS Regional Director Awards

Last week, Refuge Manager Mike Bryant and Visitor Services Manager Bonnie Strawser, both Alligator River National Wildlife Refuge employees, were presented Distinguished Awards of Achievement at the annual Regional Director's Awards in Atlanta, Ga. Bryant received the Strategic Habitat Conservation (SHC) Leadership Award for his work on the Regional Strategic Habitat Conservation Team. Strawser was presented the Outreacher of the Year award for the Southeast Region.

More than a year ago, the Southeast Region embraced a new approach to wildlife management called Strategic Habitat Conservation, which focuses on putting the right management in the right places to support wildlife. The approach is science-based, landscape-level, and recognizes the need to coordinate information, needs, and resources with partners. Bryant and the Regional SHC Team set the standard for the entire U. S. Fish and Wildlife Service in moving ahead with incorporating this approach in current and future wildlife management.

"Strategic Habitat Conservation is a tool with which we can begin to address how to manage wildlife populations and habitat in the face of some pretty major challenges - like climate change," Bryant explained. Sam Hamilton, Regional Director for the Service added, "We have an increasingly urgent need to embrace a strategic approach to landscape conservation due to a rapidly changing world and growing threats to conservation that were unimaginable just a few short years ago. This team led us to meet this challenge. The Regional Directorate is extremely grateful for the Regional SHC Advisory Team’s time, energy, and creativity to help not only the Southeast Region but the entire Service put its best foot forward towards achieving sustainable landscapes for priority trust resources in an increasingly changing world."

Strawser's award recognized her day-to-day efforts in communicating about the wildlife and wildlands in eastern North Carolina, her information work on the Evans Road Fire, and her communications role in working with Strategic Habitat Conservation. "Bonnie is the face of the Service in so many ways in eastern North Carolina. North Carolinians know the good and necessary work the Service does largely as a result of Bonnie Strawser’s ceaseless and creative outreach efforts," commented Bryant.

The mission of the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service is working with others to conserve, protect and enhance fish, wildlife, plants and their habitats for the continuing benefit of the American people. For more information on our work and the people who make it happen, visit

Photo credits: USFWS, Tom MacKenzie.

Sam Hamilton and Bonnie Strawser shake hands as Sam presents her with the award.
Bonnie Strawser, Visitor Services Manager for Alligator River and Pea Island National Wildlife Refuges, received the Outreacher of the Year award from Regional Director Sam Hamilton.

A group of people stand on stage and display their awards.
Southeast Region, USFWS Strategic Habitat Conservation Advisory Team received Strategic Habitat Conservation Leadership Award. Mike Bryant (second from left, back row) is the Refuge Manager for Alligator River and Pea Island National Wildlife Refuges .