Jackie Ferrier Named Manager of the Year
Jackie Ferrier, project leader of the Willapa National Wildlife Refuge Complex in Washington state, has been named 2019 Refuge Manager of the Year by the National Wildlife Refuge Association. This marks the first time in the award’s 25-year history that a woman has received the honor.
During her nearly eight years as complex leader, Ferrier oversaw the restoration of 700 acres of tidal estuary in Willapa Bay, which provides important habitat for chum salmon and migratory waterbirds. The estuary is part of an area recently designated as a site of international importance for shorebirds by the Western Hemisphere Shorebird Reserve Network.
Ferrier also spearheaded sand dune restoration to protect native animals including plovers, larks and endangered Columbian white-tailed deer. To better connect the community with the refuge, she teamed last year with the Friends of Willapa Refuge to launch Wings Over Willapa, an annual birding, nature and art festival.
Ferrier said she was thrilled to receive the award. “It means so much that the large-scale habitat restoration projects, wildlife conservation efforts and incredible partnerships that I am so passionate about be recognized in this way by the National Wildlife Refuge Association. It's a refuge manager's dream come true.”
The Willapa Refuge complex is made up of three refuges: Willapa National Wildlife Refuge, Julia Butler Hansen Refuge for the Columbian White-Tailed Deer, and Lewis and Clark National Wildlife Refuge.
Also honored by the Refuge Association were:
- Friends of Tennessee National Wildlife Refuge, named the Friends Group of the Year. The Friends of Tennessee Refuge devoted more than 12,000 volunteer hours to education and outreach. The group’s work brought more than 3,600 schoolchildren to visit the refuge on 60 field trips.
- Eric S. Johnson, a forester at the Central Arkansas National Wildlife Refuge Complex, named Employee of the Year. Johnson has worked to manage and restore more than 90,000 acres of forest in the Lower Mississippi Alluvial Valley for migratory birds. His Spatial Habitat Management Plan, the Refuge System’s first, covers all six refuges in the Arkansas complex: Bald Knob, Big Lake, Cache River, Holla Bend, Logan Cave and Wapanocca Refuges.
- Harold Fairfield II, a volunteer at Ash Meadows National Wildlife Refuge in Nevada, named Volunteer of the Year. Fairfield, who has volunteered at Ash Meadows Refuge since 2011, has chalked up more than seven thousand volunteer hours. One of his accomplishments was designing an improved fish trap that reduced stress and mortality on the refuge’s endangered fishes.
- Allen Williams, a landscaping/wildlife habitat specialist for a Texas school district, named Advocate of the Year. Williams has helped Santa Ana National Wildlife Refuge in Texas engage hundreds of teachers and thousands of students in environmental education.
The awards will be presented in late February in Washington, DC.
The Refuge Association is a nonprofit focused on protecting and promoting the 850 million-acre National Wildlife Refuge System, the world’s largest network of lands and waters set aside for wildlife conservation.