For Immediate Release
April 27, 1999

Contact: Tom MacKenzie
404/679-7291

NEW PROJECT LEADER FOR MISSISSIPPI SANDHILL CRANE NATIONAL WILDLIFE REFUGE

The Southeast Region of the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service has selected Sabrina Keen as the new project leader of Mississippi Sandhill Crane National Wildlife Refuge in Gautier. Since 1989, Keen has served in a variety of public outreach, recreation, and planning positions with the Bureau of Land Management and the U.S. Forest Service.

"We were impressed with Keen's extensive experience in recreation and site planning and in ordinating with citizen steering committees and volunteers," said Sam D. Hamilton, Southeast Regional Director. "In her previous position with the Bureau of Land Management in Oregon, she was one of the district liaisons for endangered and threatened species issues. This is important because the Mississippi Sandhill crane is one of our most endangered birds." There are 100 cranes on the refuge.

With the Bureau of Land Management in Coos Bay, Oregon, Keen also served as a site manager and plan writer for the New River Area of Critical Concern. She worked with steering committees and site hosts and completed a management plan for the Area. She also prepared Environmental Assessments dealing with timber harvest and road repair. Keen was an active member of the district Human Resource Development Committee and served as the Federal Women's Program Coordinator.

"In my new position with the Service, I will strive to protect the Mississippi sandhill crane, the other species on the refuge, and their valuable habitat," said Keen.

Keen was born in East Chicago, Illinois. In 1985, She graduated from Arizona State University in Phoenix with a major in Wildlife Management and a minor in Anthropology. Following graduation, she served as a Wildlife Officer or Game Warden for the Tennessee Wildlife Resources Agency in the Memphis area (Shelby County). Her first career federal position was as a resource assistant for the U.S. Forest Service in the Los Angeles area. There, she was responsible for coordinating public relations activities, grant writing, and preparing work plans for erosion control projects.

"I am enjoying the flatness of the Mississippi gulf coast," said Keen, who started her new position as project leader with the Fish and Wildlife Service in February. Her hobbies include walking, rollerblading, bicycling, touring museums and old buildings, and enjoying philosophical discussions. She has five cats.

The Mississippi Sandhill Crane National Wildlife Refuge, established in 1975, is 20,000 acres of mostly pine/savanna habitat in Mississippi's coastal plain. Its primary purpose is to provide habitat for the Mississippi Sandhill crane, as well as other listed species, such as the gopher tortoise and the red-cockaded woodpecker. Visitors may enjoy walking along the refuge's nature trail and observing and photographing wildlife, such as bobcats, deer, turkey, foxes, neotropical migratory birds and wading birds. . The Gautier Crane Festival is a popular event in March. Mississippi Sandhill has an 11-person staff and hosts 2,500 visitors annually.

The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service is the principal federal agency responsible for conserving, protecting, and enhancing fish and wildlife and their habitats for the continuing benefit of the American people. The Service manages the 93-million-acre National Wildlife Refuge System comprising more than 500 national wildlife refuges, thousands of small wetlands, and other special management areas. It also operates 66 national fish hatcheries and 78 Ecological Services field offices. The agency administers the Endangered Species Act, manages migratory bird populations, enforces federal wildlife laws, restores nationally significant fisheries, conserves and restores wildlife habitat such as wetlands, and helps foreign governments with their conservation efforts. It also oversees the Federal Aid program that distributes hundreds of millions of dollars in excise taxes on fishing and hunting equipment to state wildlife agencies.

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Release #: R99-34


1999 News Release

eases

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