The Refuge System is adding two new faces to its Washington Office management team: Marcia Pradines will become chief of the Division of Visitor Services and Communications in late April; Mendel Stewart will take over as chief of the Division of Budget, Planning and Workforce in early summer.

Pradines, deputy chief of the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service Division of Migratory Bird Management, has worked for the Service since 2008. She spent her early career in the non–governmental sector. Stewart, a veteran of the Refuge System, is currently project leader at San Francisco Bay Refuge Complex. He has been with the Service since 1984.

Pradines worked as a vice president at the nonprofit Wildlife Habitat Council for more than a decade and was a director of the Pennsylvania Wildlife Center before she joined the federal government. While chief of the Branch of Bird Conservation, Pradines served with distinction on the Conserving the Future Conservation Delivery core team, whose months–long work resulted in many of the 24 recommendations. Throughout her career, she has engaged partners and the NGO community and developed communications strategies on behalf of conservation. She holds an undergraduate degree in biology from the University of Pittsburgh and a master’s degree in wildlife management from West Virginia University.

She loves whitewater kayaking, flyfishing, upland bird hunting and taking her springer spaniel to field trials.

Stewart took his first refuge manager position in 1985 at Merritt Island National Wildlife Refuge in Florida, where, among other achievements, he recruited and trained a diverse volunteer corps that was only in its second year of existence. He went on to serve as refuge manager at Hobe Sound National Wildlife Refuge in Florida and as project leader at San Diego National Wildlife Refuge Complex in California.

Stewart is on the Urban Wildlife Refuge Initiative implementation team, bringing his working experience to a Conserving the Future team that is at the crux of making wildlife refuges relevant to a diverse, youthful generation.

Mendel Stewart
Mendel Stewart

He is also a veteran of the Washington Office, where he served from 1995 to mid–2000, an exhilarating era for the Refuge System as Congress passed the National Wildlife Refuge System Improvement Act of 1997. Stewart crisscrossed the country, training Service employees in the details and implications of the Improvement Act. He holds an undergraduate degree in biology from Western Kentucky University and a master’s degree in public administration from the University of Memphis. He recently helped establish and lead the Bay Area Ecosystem Climate Change Consortium.

Stewart, his wife, Kristin and his two daughters, Tori and Kylie, love the outdoors and look forward to new adventures on the East Coast.