U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service Announces New Project Leader at Tensas River and Bayou Cocodrie National Wildlife Refuges
Kelly Purkey is the new project leader for the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service’s Tensas River National Wildlife Refuge in Tallulah, Louisiana and Bayou Cocodrie National Wildlife Refuge in Ferriday. In her new position, Purkey oversees a 19-person staff and 89,668 acres in four parishes - - Madison, Tensas, Franklin, and Concordia.
“Kelly is a 10-year veteran of the Service, and served as assistant manager of Sabine National Wildlife Refuge in Hackberry, Louisiana, before joining our Regional Office staff in Atlanta,” said Sam D. Hamilton, the Service’s Southeast Regional Director. “For more than two years, Kelly has done a great job as the Deputy Refuge Supervisor for Louisiana and Arkansas. We look forward to benefiting from Kelly’s management expertise and knowledge of the natural resources of Louisiana as the Service works to conserve America’s lands and wildlife on our national wildlife refuges.”
Purkey has been in the Service’s Southeast Regional Office’s Division of Refuges in Atlanta, Georgia, since 2005. She began her Service career in 1997 at the Sabine National Wildlife Refuge as a Student Cooperative Education Program selectee. In 2000, she became the Oil and Gas Specialist at that refuge.
“I am really excited about working in Louisiana again,” said Purkey. “It is a state of vast and important natural resources. At Tensas River and Bayou Cocodrie, I plan to focus our work on these refuges’ valuable habitat and on community education about the natural and recreational opportunities at both locations.”
A native of Pearl River, Louisiana, Purkey holds a bachelor’s degree from Louisiana State University in Wildlife and Fisheries, as well as a master’s degree in Wildlife Management.
Purkey enjoys spending time with her husband, Coy, and their daughter, Ashley. She also likes to go bird-watching or to work in her yard at home.
The Tensas River National Wildlife Refuge is located in the upper basin of the Tensas River in northeast Louisiana. The area is the last documented home of the ivory-billed woodpecker, federally listed as endangered. Tensas River also hosts one of the last concentrations of the Louisiana black bear, which is federally listed as threatened. The bottomland hardwoods at Bayou Cocodrie National Wildlife Refuge are some of the last remaining, least disturbed timber in the Mississippi River Delta. Cocodrie Bayou, which flows through the center of the refuge, is designated as a state scenic river.
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