News Release
Southeast Region


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Noxubee National Wildlife Refuge Renamed Sam D. Hamilton Noxubee National Wildlife Refuge in Honor of Starkville Native

June 22, 2012


Additional Resources:

The sign for Sam D. Hamilton Noxubee National Wildlife Refuge has beautiful butterfly-attracting yellow lantana growing beneath it

The new refuge sign. Photo: USFWS. Download.


Sam smiling as he stands fly-fishing in a river

Sam fly fishing. Photo: USFWS. Download.

In honor of his predecessor, Dan Ashe, Director of the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, joined with friends, conservation partners, Service employees and Sam’s family to unveil a new sign today officially renaming Noxubee National Wildlife Refuge the Sam D. Hamilton Noxubee National Wildlife Refuge.

“Noxubee was the place where Sam Hamilton found his calling, and I know the special place this refuge held in his imagination,” said Fish and Wildlife Service Director Dan Ashe. “Just as I can’t imagine wildlife conservation without Sam’s contributions, it’s impossible to think of Noxubee without being reminded of Sam. I’m so pleased that every American will have the opportunity to come here and learn about one of our nation’s greatest conservation leaders.”

Sam D. Hamilton was sworn in as the 15th Director of the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service in September 2009, and was serving in that capacity when he died suddenly in February, 2010.  A 30-year career employee of the Service, he previously had served in a variety of positions, including Regional Director of the Southeast Region, where he was instrumental in the extensive recovery and restoration efforts required following Hurricanes Katrina and Rita and the Interior Department’s restoration work in the Everglades.

"How fitting is it that this refuge – the place that was so near and dear to his heart with so many Fish and Wildlife memories – will now bear his name,” said Cindy Dohner, the Service’s Southeast Regional Director.  “Starkville was his home and the step we take today will ensure that his legacy and that of his family’s will be safely secured for generations to come.  We are proud to join with his family today to celebrate that legacy.

Sam’s family was joined at the ceremony by representatives of Mississippi State University, the National Fish and Wildlife Foundation, Ducks Unlimited, the National Wild Turkey Federation, Friends of Noxubee National Wildlife Refuge, the Association of Fish and Wildlife Service Employees and a host of friends and current Service employees.

Hamilton began his career at Noxubee National Wildlife Refuge as a 15-year-old in the Youth Conservation Corps.  He was a native of Starkville, Mississippi, and a 1977 graduate of Mississippi State University.

The Noxubee National Wildlife Refuge was established in 1940, and is located within the three Mississippi counties of Noxubee, Oktibbeha and Winston, near Starkville, Mississippi.  Its 42,500 acres of bottomland and upland woodlands provide essential habitat to the endangered red-cockaded woodpecker, the American alligator, bobcat, quail, white-tailed deer and wild turkeys.  In addition, 15,000 waterfowl, primarily American widgeons, gadwalls, mallards and wood ducks, winter on the refuge.

A variety of game species are hunted on the refuge including quail, deer, and turkey.  The endangered red-cockaded woodpecker relies on the refuge for its existence in east-central Mississippi.  In addition, many neotropical species greatly benefit from the Noxubee forests.


The mission of the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service is working with others to conserve, protect, and enhance fish, wildlife, plants, and their habitats for the continuing benefit of the American people. We are both a leader and trusted partner in fish and wildlife conservation, known for our scientific excellence, stewardship of lands and natural resources, dedicated professionals, and commitment to public service. For more information on our work and the people who make it happen, visit Connect with our Facebook page at, follow our tweets at, watch our YouTube Channel at and download photos from our Flickr page at


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Last updated: June 19, 2012