Fish and Wildlife Service Honors 11 Partners with 2002 Southeast Regional
Director’s Conservation Awards
April 23, 2003
Christine Eustis, 404.679-7287
Elsie Davis, 404/679-7107
They are a diverse
group - - among them are multi-million dollar energy companies, private
land-owners, an airline, state and city agencies, and two directors
of foundations. However, all of the 11 honorees have one thing in common
- - they all have partnered with the Southeast
Region of the U.S.
Fish and Wildlife Service to accomplish major fish and wildlife
conservation goals . Today, in Atlanta, Georgia, the Service honored
these individuals, companies, and agencies with Regional Director’s
Conservation Awards for 2002.
said Sam D. Hamilton, Southeast Regional Director. “We are proud
and grateful for our partners’ significant contributions and accomplishments.
This year, we are celebrating the Centennial of our National
Wildlife Refuge System. In the Southeast, the Service oversees
125 national wildlife refuges, 19 national fish hatcheries, and thousands
of wetlands - - a tremendous responsibility that we could not accomplish
without the help of willing environmental stewards.”
2002 Regional Director’s Conservation Awards include the American
Electric Power, Columbus, Ohio; the Defense
and Federal Products Division of Caterpillar, Inc., Mossville,
Airlines, Atlanta, Georgia; and Mobile, Alabama, Area Water
and Sewer. Southern
Company, Birmingham, Alabama, also was honored.
2002 Regional Director’s Conservation Awards include James Cummins,
Jt., executive director of the Mississippi
Fish and Wildlife Foundation in Stoneville, Mississippi;
Steve and Margaret Cunningham, dairy cattle brokers and farmers, in
Manchester, Tennessee; and Dr. Sam Eichold, of South
Alabama Medical Center in Mobile, Alabama. Also receiving
conservation awards were Jutta Kuenzler, a private landowner from Chapel
Hill, North Carolina; Rudy Mancke, a naturalist and the retired Director
of Nature Programming for South Carolina Educational Television’s
Series; and Peter Stangel, Director of the National
Fish and Wildlife Foundation, Atlanta, Georgia.
A list of honorees
and their accomplishments follows:
Electric Power: American Electric Power has been actively involved
in the protection and reforestation of 18,372 acres of bottomland
hardwood forest in the Bushley Bayou Unit of the Catahoula National
Wildlife Refuge in Rhinehart, Louisiana. Throughout the Lower Mississippi
Valley, American Electric Power has also been involved in the reforestation
of hundreds of acres of marginal agricultural land through Utilitree,
a consortium of utility companies.
and Federal Products Division of Caterpillar, Inc.: Caterpillar provided
heavy equipment for the removal of invasive, exotic plants and the
building of freshwater ponds and wetlands at Pelican Island National
Wildlife Refuge in Sebastian, Florida. Caterpillar also has been very
active in helping to advertise the National Wildlife Refuge System’s
Air Lines: Delta featured a 90-second mini-documentary on the National
Wildlife Refuge System Centennial on their inflight video program
on domestic and international flights in February 2003. Delta’s
In-Flight magazine also featured an article about the National Wildlife
Refuge System in its February 2003 issue.
Alabama Area Water and Sewer: Mobile Area Water and Sewer was instrumental
in creating a 222-acre conservation bank for the gopher tortoise,
federally listed as a threatened species. The establishment of this
special area also conserves the tortoise’s longleaf pine habitat,
and helps the eastern indigo snake, another federally-listed, threatened
Company: Southern Company has launched a new bird conservation initiative,
The Power of Flight, that will result in more than $1 million in on-the-ground
habitat conservation and education programs for birds in Georgia,
Florida, Alabama, and Mississippi.
- James Cummins,
Jr.: As Executive Director of the Mississippi Fish and Wildlife Foundation,
James Cummins has been responsible for authoring federal conservation
legislation, such as the USDA Wildlife Habitat Incentives Program that
was funded at $700 million in 2002. Mr. Cummins is also involved in
several natural resources conservation partnerships for Mississippi.
and Margaret Cunningham: These private landowners in south-central
Tennessee were among the first to work with the Service to protect
and restore habitat for the Barrens topminnow, one of the rarest fish
in the world.
Sam Eichold: Dr. Eichold, as owner of Sturdy Oak Farms in Escambia,
Alabama, is restoring wetlands and the former longleaf pine ecosystem
on his 650-acre farm.
Kuenzler: As a private landowner of a 154-acre farm in Chapel Hill,
North Carolina, Mrs. Kuenzler is preserving and restoring wildlife
habitat and wetlands on her land, including the restoration of a small
degraded wetland near Collins Creek, a tributary to the Cape Fear
River. Mrs. Kuenzler and her family also hosted two conservation field
days to demonstrate how their efforts might be successful for others.
Mancke: Rudy Mancke is a naturalist and the retired Director of Nature
Programming for the South Carolina Educational Television NatureScene
series. The NatureScene series is carried nationally over 85 PBS stations.
Mr. Manacke produced a NatureScene Retrospective video of the National
Wildlife Refuge System for the Centennial. He also has given lectures
and led nature walks at South Carolina Refuges. At Cape Romain National
Wildlife Refuge in Awendaw, his tours helped the Sewee Association
raise about $30,000 for educational programs through the years.
Stangel: As Director of the Southern Region of the National Fish and
Wildlife Foundation, Peter Stangel has been responsible for developing
numerous corporate partnerships that have helped the Service develop
and accomplish its conservation goals. Many of the Service’s
major projects, such as the whooping crane migration program and a
conservation effort for southeastern imperiled fisheries, have received
critical support thanks to these partners.
Hamilton also presented Regional Director’s Honor Awards to 21
U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service employees and recognized five volunteers.
The U.S. Fish and
Wildlife Service is the principal Federal agency responsible for conserving,
protecting and enhancing fish, wildlife and plants and their habitats
for the continuing benefit of the American people. The Service manages
the 94-million-acre National Wildlife Refuge System which encompasses
541 national wildlife refuges, thousands of small wetlands and other
special management areas. It also operates 69 national fish hatcheries,
64 fishery resource offices and 78 ecological services field stations.
The agency enforces Federal wildlife laws, administers the Endangered
Species Act, manages migratory bird populations, 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 fish and wildlife agencies.