U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service
Southeast Region News Release

 FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE                       Diana M. Hawkins or

March 19, 1997                               Vicki M. Boatwright



Louis Hinds

Judy Dryia

U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service biologist Louis Hinds, manager of Florida's J.N. "Ding" Darling National Wildlife Refuge and Judy Dryja, volunteer coordinator at Florida's Merritt Island National Wildlife Refuge near Titusville, were recently singled out to receive two of the Nation's top awards for refuge personnel.

The National Audubon Society and the National Wildlife Refuge Association a group that serves as an advocate for refuges and refuge dwellers recently named Hinds as the recipient of the 1997 Paul Kroegal Award and Dryja as the winner of the 1997 National Wildlife Refuge Volunteer of the Year. Both awards were presented at the 62nd North American Wildlife and Natural Resources Conference in Washington D.C., March 17, 1997.

Hinds, a graduate of Rutgers University with a degree in wildlife biology, was chosen from a group of 10 nominees for this prestigious award, which is named after the first manager of the Pelican Island National Wildlife Refuge, founded in 1903, and the nation's first national wildlife refuge.

The New Jersey native first joined the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service in 1972. Since then he has served at the Great Swamp NWR, New Jersey (1972-1980); Eastern Neck NWR, Maryland (1980-1985); Parker River NWR, Massachusetts (1986-1988), and Eastern Shore of Virginia NWR (1988-1990). Hinds has managed the J.N. "Ding" Darling National Wildlife Refuge for the past six years and is credited with "catapulting this refuge and its cooperating association into national prominence."

Paul Kroegal Award winners are selected based upon their commitment to the conservation of natural resources, their superior management skills and proficiency in dealing with complex issues, their effectiveness in communicating with the public and advancement of the cause of wildlife conservation and the mission of the National Wildlife Refuge System. Hinds was also cited for his ability to innovate productive working partnerships with the local community and its diverse components to avoid or quickly resolve problems and to capitalize on conservation opportunities.

Dryja, the recipient of the Volunteer of the Year award, has served at the Merritt Island NWR, east of Orlando, Florida, since 1989. As a volunteer, she regularly leads visitor tours through the refuge, presents interpretive programs to the public, and has assisted with numerous environmental education activities involving school groups.

According to Barbara Bolt, Merritt Island refuge ranger, "It is great for Judy to win this award, but it is also great for the Merritt Island National Wildlife Refuge." She added that Dryja is a true conservationist, who keeps herself and others informed of important environmental legislative issues and encourages everyone to get out and vote. "Volunteers like Judy, the ones who are involved in everything, are the ones who really make an impact in the big picture," Bolt said.

Dryja, a Wisconsin native who has pursued a 26-year career as a dental hygienist, said she enjoyed volunteering because it gave her the opportunity to do different things that she might otherwise never have the chance to do. "Anytime you can instill in a child the importance of the environment, future generations will be able to enjoy the environment the way we have," she said.

This award is presented annually to the National Wildlife Refuge System volunteer who has best demonstrated effectiveness in dealing with the public, superior organizational skills, innovation in handling refuge assignments, dependability and a dedication to the goals and objectives of the refuge system.


Release #97-32

1997 News Releases

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