Regional Office Biologist Mary Mitchell Selected As
Finalist in Nextgov Bold Awards
By Larry Dean
Mary Mitchell (U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service photo)
Mary Mitchell, a biologist with the Regional Office’s Conservation Planning Program, was recently selected as a finalist for the Nextgov Bold Award.
Mitchell was selected from more than 180 nominees nationwide for this honor that recognizes federal employees who have taken risks to implement innovative programs that make the government more effective.
Mitchell’s nomination was the result of her developing a process of using high-resolution aerial photography to monitor conservation easements. She prepares the flight plans, retrieves the raw digital photography from the pilot, processes the photos within 24 hours and provides them to law enforcement staff to review for potential violations.
Her efforts allow Service law enforcement to monitor thousands of acres of easements in Minnesota and Iowa to ensure the integrity of these areas for breeding and migrating waterfowl and other birds. This saves staff time and money, while improving compliance and reducing the burden on landowners.
“The news of Mary Mitchell’s selection for this honor comes as no surprise to those of us who know of her hard work and dedication,” said National Wildlife Refuges Regional Chief Charlie Blair. “I congratulate her as she moves into the finals of the Nextgov program and couldn't be more proud of her effort and leadership in technology innovation.”
Finalists selected were from 12 federal agencies, including the Service. Collectively, their efforts are described as having enhanced veterans health care, boosted national security and saved lives during emergencies, advanced international relations, strengthened environmental protections and saved taxpayers dollars.