Congratulations to the Recipients of the 2014 North American Waterfowl Management Plan Awards!
International Canvasback Award Recipients
Dr. Rick Warhurst
Dr. Rick Warhurst began his career in waterfowl and their habitats on the North Dakota prairies as technician. During his early career he worked for the Ohio Division of Wildlife and at Marais des Cygnes Wildlife Management Area in Kansas. Warhurst (pictured, above left, receiving his award from Tony Leif of the NAWMP Plan Committee) also worked for Ducks Unlimited as the manager of conservation programs for North and South Dakota. He has also worked with the Central Flyway Council and Technical Committees. He has served three joint ventures during his career, simultaneously serving on the technical committee of the Prairie Pothole JV and the management board of the Rainwater Basin JV, and later becoming the chairman of the Northern Great Plains JV, a position which he currently holds. Not only has Rick conserved a considerable number of acres that have helped achieve the goals of the North American Waterfowl Management Plan, he has accomplished this in a manner that is well-respected, professional, and cooperative in nature.
National Blue-winged Teal Award Recipients
Nicole Hansel-Welch, United States
Nicole Hansel-Welch's commitment to waterfowl resources, dedication to those she serves and excellence in leadership is reflected in the accomplishments of the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources Shallow Lakes Program, the largest program of its kind, which targets restoring the natural quality of degraded permanent wetlands over 50 acres in size. As supervisor, Hansel-Welch established a series of Shallow Lake Forums focused on bridging the information gap among landowners, local units of government and the conservation community. The program's management projects, often completed in collaboration with conservation partners, have had remarkable success. The number of wetland basins improved has increased sevenfold since 2001, exceeding 500 basins annually in recent years, often affecting more than 200,000 acres. Over 1,800 lake habitat assessments have been completed since Hansel-Welch became program lead 2001, covering 793,129 habitat acres. Conservation partners have recognized her contributions, including Ducks Unlimited and the Minnesota DNR.
James C. Kennedy, United States
James C. Kennedy is a life-long conservationist, humanitarian and philanthropist. He has been instrumental for decades assisting Ducks Unlimited, Inc. and Ducks Unlimited Canada and other organizations fulfill their conservation missions across North America achieving the goals of the North American Waterfowl Management Plan. Additionally, he has acquired and restored tens of thousands of acres of waterfowl and other wildlife habitat across the United States. Kennedy has availed his 6,000-acre property in Mississippi for research by graduate students and professors evaluating wetland and cropland management practices to determine "best management practices" for waterfowl and other wildlife foods and improving quality of surface water that ultimately enters the Mississippi River and Gulf of Mexico. Kennedy also owns vast upland and wetland property in coastal South Carolina and Montana protected by conservation easements and managed for optimum conservation benefits. In addition to Kennedy's land conservation efforts, he serves on the board of trustees and previously was President of DU's Wetlands America Trust. During his tenure as president, Kennedy was the chairman of the Wetlands for Tomorrow, the largest and most successful campaign ever for conservation. In 2008, Kennedy established the James C. Kennedy Chair in Waterfowl and Wetlands Conservation at Mississippi State University. Kennedy's gift sustains in perpetuity the teaching, research, and outreach programs in waterfowl and wetlands science and conservation at MSU. Additionally, Mr. Kennedy established in fall 2014 the James C. Kennedy Waterfowl and Wetlands Conservation Center at Clemson University, with the Center located in coastal South Carolina, thereby conducting research to conserve south Atlantic coastal ecosystems.