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The Mountain-Prairie Region


U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service
134 Union Boulevard
Lakewood, Colorado 80228


 December 5, 2006

 Contact: Barb Perkins, (303) 235-4588                                                                                              


Sherry James, Supervisory Park Ranger at the Rocky Mountain Arsenal National Wildlife Refuge in Commerce City, Colorado, has been recognized with the 2006 Sense of Wonder Award. Given by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, the award is the agency’s highest honor for achievement in environmental education and interpretation.  

The award takes its name from a book by the great conservationist and former U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service employee Rachel Carson, who urged adults to help children develop a “sense of wonder” in the natural world that would continue to grow for generations.  

"Sherry James is a very deserving recipient of the Service's 2006 Sense of Wonder Award.  Her efforts have enriched the lives of thousands of Colorado school children by exposing them to the wonders of wildlife and the natural world,” said Dean Rundle, refuge manager at the Rocky Mountain Arsenal National Wildlife Refuge. “Everyone here at the refuge is proud to be on the same team with Sherry James.” 

James was selected from a national field of candidates for the award, which was presented earlier this month at the National Association for Interpreters (NAI) conference in Albuquerque, New Mexico. James is currently in charge of all visitor service programs at the Arsenal. 

Among her accomplishments, James has collaborated with Craig Hospital and Children’s Hospital to provide fishing opportunities for disabled and paralyzed youth, established a Spanish-language Web page for the Arsenal (one of the first in the Service and the National Wildlife Refuge System), created educational partnerships with Denver Public Schools and Adams County 14 School District, and planned, coordinated and executed numerous large public events at the refuge. 

In the 15 years since the U.S. Congress passed legislation to establish the Rocky Mountain Arsenal National Wildlife Refuge, James has touched the lives of over 400,000 visitors, 77,000 of whom are schoolchildren. From operating tour vehicles and leading environmental education programs, to recruiting and leading volunteers, to establishing partnerships with businesses, nongovernmental organizations and school districts, to writing curricula and press releases, and organizing major events, James’ career has truly instilled a “sense of wonder” in those of all ages.  

You can find more information about the Refuge at or by calling 303.289.0930.  To learn more about the Arsenal and its environmental cleanup, please visit or call 303.289.0136.  

Located about 10 miles northeast of Denver, the Rocky Mountain Arsenal National Wildlife Refuge was officially established in 2004, after the EPA certified that the clean up of 5,000 acres of Arsenal land was complete and took the land off the Superfund list. The refuge expanded from 5,000 to more than 12,000 acres this fall, following the successful clean up and transfer of the land from the U.S. Army to the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service.  

The refuge is home to more than 330 species of wildlife, including the American bald eagle and burrowing owl, and includes important wetland and short-grass prairie habitat. For the past 15 years, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service has partnered with the Army and Shell Oil Co. to convert the Arsenal from an environmental clean-up site to a premier urban national wildlife refuge in the heart of Colorado. The clean up of the Rocky Mountain Arsenal is almost two-thirds complete. By the time the work is finished, around 2011, another 2,500 acres will be added to the refuge. 

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 95-million-acre National Wildlife Refuge System, which encompasses 545 national wildlife refuges, thousands of small wetlands and other special management areas. It also operates 69 national fish hatcheries, 64 fishery resources offices and 81 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 and Native American tribal governments with their conservation efforts. It also oversees the Federal Assistance program, which distributes hundreds of millions of dollars in excise taxes on fishing and hunting equipment to state fish and wildlife agencies. 

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