Nick George, State Coordinator for the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service’s Partners for Fish & Wildlife program in Washington, has been recognized by the Thurston Conservation District as the 2022 “Partner of the Year.”
The conservation district, which covers Olympia and the South Sound region of the state, commended Nick’s support for, “the unique endangered species of our landscape and the community members who steward them.”
Thurston County is home to a large percentage of the remaining prairie in the Pacific Northwest and several endangered or threatened species including Taylor’s checkerspot butterfly, Oregon spotted frog, Mazama pocket gopher, golden paintbrush, and more. Less than ten percent of historic prairie in the South Sound region remains today, and mutually beneficial relationships with private landowners is key to conserving the dwindling prairie ecosystem. Learn more about conservation of prairies in western Washington.
As part of the Partners for Fish & Wildlife program, Nick works with landowners in the region to pursue voluntary conservation on their private lands. The program provides free technical and financial assistance to landowners, managers, Tribes, corporations, schools and nonprofits interested in improving wildlife habitat on private land. Projects are voluntary and customized to meet landowners’ needs. Participating landowners continue to own and manage their land while they improve conditions for wildlife.
The award nomination noted that, “...Because of Nick’s interest, support and faith in Thurston CD staff, we were able to develop an innovative pilot program to create real conservation impacts on the ground for landowners with ESA listed species. Nick embodies the voluntary conservation ethic of TCD through all of his projects, communications and relationships.”
Nearly 70 percent of land in the United States is privately owned, making conservation by private landowners critical in saving Washington’s ecological treasures. Landowners interested in conservation can contact the Partners for Fish & Wildlife program.
The mission of Thurston Conservation District is to educate and assist the citizens of Thurston County in the management of natural resources for the benefit of present and future generations, inspiring voluntary, incentive-based conservation practices.