Dr. Mamie Parker, Assistant Director, Fisheries and Habitat Conservation, has 28 years of experience in the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service behind her, and still looks boldly into the future. Armed with degrees in wildlife and fisheries biology, Dr. Parker has plied the trade at a number of Service facilities, starting as a fish health practitioner at the Genoa National Fish Hatchery in Wisconsin. From there she went to the New London National Fish Hatchery and then a stint at the Green Bay Ecological Services Field Office before returning to the National Fish Hatchery at Lake Mills, Wisconsin. Never one to shy from something new, Dr. Parker worked in the Section 404 program and the Partners for Wildlife Program out of Columbia, Missouri, helping private landowners improve wildlife habitat.
The north had its pull again on this native southerner; she eventually became the Regional Division Chief of Habitat Conservation and the ecosystem and NEPA coordinator for the Great Lakes – Big Rivers Regional Office in Minneapolis. Opportunity knocked to return south in 1996 to the Southeast Regional Office in Atlanta, where Dr. Parker served as the Deputy Geographic Assistant Regional Director, and Deputy Assistant Regional Director – Fisheries where she supervised Ecological Services, Fisheries offices and National Wildlife Refuges in Arkansas, Louisiana and Mississippi.
The road to leadership eventually wended its way to Washington in 1998. Dr. Parker served the Director’s Office as the Special Assistant, providing expert advice and analysis on national policies. In 1999, she became the Deputy Regional Director and eventually the Regional Director for the 13-state Northeast Region, in Hadley, Massachusetts, where she proved to be a strong advocate for employee development.
Dr. Parker returned to Washington in 2003 to serve as the Assistant Director - Fisheries and Habitat Conservation. Through her deep understanding that people are the building blocks of partnership, she has taken the Division to new heights, growing new partnerships, creating new Friends groups, and pushing habitat restoration, coastal and marine mammal protection, fish passage, wetland mapping, planning on military lands, strategic planning, and outreach. As the co-chair of the Aquatic Nuisance Species Task Force, she has led the group through planning and into action. Under her guidance, the Fish Technology Centers are thriving and the Aquatic Animal Drug Approval Partnership is getting new drugs approved by the FDA – benefiting conservation, commerce, and people.
Dr. Parker stands at the fore of habitat conservation, marshalling the National Fish Habitat Plan into action, a plan that will create an unparalleled opportunity to set national goals for cooperation and communication among all levels of interested parties, in the interest of conservation.
Dr. Parker’s successes were recently recognized by her home state; she was inducted into the Arkansas Outdoor Hall of Fame, by Governor Mike Huckabee. She also received the Service’s distinguished Ira Gabrielson Award given to one outstanding leader in the Service each year, and the Department of Interior Silver Award presented by the Secretary. Dr. Parker is a member of The Links, Incorporated; Rotary International; and Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority.
Relevant experiences pre-date Dr. Parker’s Service career. She is the youngest in a family of 11 children, and no matter how high she may rise, she will always look up to her employees and also her older siblings. It was only natural then that she should make mentoring a significant part of her management methods. Dr. Parker owes the greatest debt of gratitude to her favorite mentor, her mother Cora, the avid angler. She and her husband Artist make a home in the Washington, D.C. area.