Newsroom Midwest Region

Wisconsin’s Fort McCoy honored with military conservation partner award

July 15, 2019

Aurelia Skipwith holds a bull snake
Deputy Assistant Secretary for Fish and Wildlife and Parks Aurelia Skipwith holds a bull snake during a field visit with staff from Fort McCoy and U.S Fish and Wildlife Service to learn more about conservation work on military lands. Photo by Larry Dean/USFWS.

On July 11, Deputy Assistant Secretary for Fish and Wildlife and Parks Aurelia Skipwith presented the Military Conservation Partnership Award to Fort McCoy, Wisconsin for their excellence in habitat restoration and wildlife management. The first Midwest Region installation to receive the award, Fort McCoy recently completed 107 high priority conservation projects, exceeding a 98% completion rate. 

In her remarks Skipwith thanked Garrison Commander Colonel Hui Chae Kim and the Fort McCoy Natural Resource Branch, which fosters the wise stewardship of natural and cultural resources to support and sustain a realistic military training environment, biological diversity, the integrity of sensitive or unique sites and commercial and recreational opportunities.

Fort McCoy’s landscape supports four federal and 33 state-listed species and is proactively collecting data on eight species undergoing status reviews. Some of the best remaining habitat and largest populations of rare butterflies are found at Fort McCoy, including the Karner blue, regal fritillary, frosted elfin and ottoe skipper. 

Karner blue butterfly
Karner blue butterfly. Photo by Jill Utrup/USFWS.

Also at the ceremony, Midwest Region Acting Deputy Regional Director Thao Tran presented Ms. Liane Haun, Director of Fort McCoy’s Public Works, with the Midwest Regional Director’s Partner Appreciation Award. This award recognizes our partnership and the incredible work done by Fort McCoy’s Directorate of Public Works to enhance and improve Fort McCoy’s natural resources and honors the contributions of eight members of their Environmental Division Team - Kira Kaufman, Jim Kerkman, Charles Mentzel, Leigh Neitzel, Dave Beckmann, John Noble, Mark McCarty and Tim Wilder. 

Posing with the award
Left to right: Deputy Assistant Secretary for Fish and Wildlife and Parks Aurelia Skipwith, Colonel Kim, the Fort McCoy Environmental Division Team and the Service’s Midwest Region Acting Deputy Regional Director Thao Tran. Photo by Larry Dean/USFWS.

“Fort McCoy’s proactive, flexible and collaborative approach to managing habitats and species has had a big impact on the ground and is a model for other military installations,” said Tran. “The Fort’s dedicated team of natural resource specialists have proven that the needs of rare habitats and species can with balanced with military readiness training.”

These awards reflect the tremendous amount of mutual trust and pride the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service has for military installations, which achieve a myriad conservation successes while fully supporting their mission of training soldiers in a challenging environment. The Service values its many partnerships with the military services and appreciates the role of military lands in conserving the nature of America.