Regional Director Tom Melius. Photo by USFWS.
Ready to Bloom
March brings with it the exciting portents of Spring – the first flowers braving through to sprout, the tree buds growing, the bird populations shifting, and of course, the temperatures rising. An important spring conservation activity, already started in parts of our region, is prescribed burning. By duplicating the destructive forces of wildfire in a controlled and safe method, great habitat can be restored and reclaimed using this tool to the benefit of many of our region’s plant and animal species.
With fire in mind, I am pleased to announce the Midwest Torch Award winner, Blake Kinsley. This prestigious and exclusive selection was the result of peer nominations, and is based on his skillful use of fire and fuels in conservation work. Blake’s influence has been a positive representation of integrity and leadership for the FWS and for the northwest portion of Iowa where he is stationed <learn more here>.
I am also proud to announce that the National Wildlife Refuge Association’s Refuge Manager of the Year was awarded to our very own Tom Kerr. This award is one of the highest honors for our refuge leadership, and it carries with it the legacy of the very first refuge manager, Paul Kroegel. Tom manages the St. Croix Wetland Management District and Whittlesey Creek National Wildlife Refuge in Wisconsin. I am so very pleased to see his valuable efforts rewarded and honored in this way <learn more here>.
I am thrilled to have recently been selected as the Service’s representative for the Monarch Joint Venture Steering Committee <learn more here>. These regal orange butterflies are generating increasing interest and concern regarding their decreasing numbers. As a Service and region, we will push forward with our partners by enhancing monarch habitat, educating others and monitoring these beautiful creatures as they live and migrate through a large portion of our country and beyond.
Coming up next month will be the Spring Directorate Meeting where I’ll be working with our Service leadership to help coordinate next steps for strategic habitat conservation and surrogate species implementation. These important initiatives are taking hold across the agency and will certainly propel us into the future months and years with great vigor. Things are truly ready to blossom for important projects across the region – from the large-scale LCCs to the smallest milkweed plant and wherever you might be.
Please enjoy this issue of Inside Region 3 and get blooming!
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