Joan Jewett, (503) 231-6211
Two biologists in the agency's Pacific Region are honored
U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service Director H. Dale Hall today announced the sixteen recipients of the Service's 2007 National Recovery Champion award. The Recovery Champion award recognizes outstanding contributions of U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service employees and their partners toward efforts aimed at recovering threatened and endangered species in the United States.
"The Recovery Champion award not only recognizes the exceptional conservation accomplishments of the honorees, it also provides the public with a unique opportunity to learn about endangered species conservation," said Hall. "These Recovery Champions are extraordinary conservationists dedicated to protecting and restoring our nation's wildlife and ensuring that future generations of Americans enjoy the natural treasures we experience today."
The 2007 Recovery Champion honorees' contributions to the conservation of our natural heritage benefit a broad range of endangered and threatened plants and animals. From manatees to mussels, Service employees and their partners have been working to recover our nation's most imperiled wildlife. Habitat protection, public awareness campaigns and the development of cutting-edge technology to achieve captive breeding success are just a few examples of this year's Recovery Champion honorees' efforts.
In the Service's Pacific Region, two biologists are being honored:
Dr. Holly B. Freifeld, the Vertebrate Recovery Coordinator in the Service's Pacific Islands Fish and Wildlife Office, has become one of the leading biologists in her office. She is looked to by many not only for her technical expertise, but also for her ability to "think big," maintain focus on priority conservation issues, try innovative approaches and follow through to implementation. Her ability to work collaboratively with international and local partners in the conservation of vertebrate species in the Pacific Islands region is exemplary. Dr. Freifeld is a dedicated conservationist whose efforts have benefited such species as Newell's shearwater, the Hawaiian petrel, the Laysan duck and the Mariana fruit bat. Dr. Freifeld was recently awarded the Regional Director's 'Recovery Leader' award for her significant efforts to establish a second population of the highly endangered Laysan duck.
David Hays, a wildlife biologist with the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife, has worked tirelessly to investigate, develop and implement appropriate conservation measures for the Columbia Basin pygmy rabbit. Without his dedication and foresight, it is probable that this distinct population segment of pygmy rabbits would now be extinct. Hays has consistently demonstrated his ability to bring together a wide range of interest groups including universities, zoos, private landowners, industry groups, non-governmental organizations and federal, and state agencies from throughout the northwestern United States and the world. His ability to translate their conceptual directions into detailed management measures and then find ways to implement those measures through direct on-the-ground actions has proved extremely beneficial to the species. Hays has become nationally and internationally recognized among world experts on rabbits and hares.
"Dr. Holly Freifeld and David Hays are true conservation heroes," said Ren Lohoefener, Director of the Service's Pacific Region. "Their partnership approach to solving tough problems is an example for resource stewards everywhere who are looking for ways to take positive steps toward recovering endangered species."
For additional information please visit the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service?s Recovery Champion website at: http://www.fws.gov/endangered/recovery/champions/index.html
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. We are both a leader and trusted partner in fish and wildlife conservation, known for our scientific excellence, stewardship of lands and natural resources, dedicated professionals and commitment to public service. For more information on our work and the people who make it happen, visit www.fws.gov.