Feb 12, 2012

2012 Refuge System Awards

The National Wildlife Refuge Association and the National Fish and Wildlife Foundation recently announced the winners of the 2012 National Wildlife Refuge System Awards:

Being honored this year are:

Charles A. Pelizza has been selected as the recipient of the Paul Kroegel Award for Refuge Manager of the Year for his leadership, professionalism and advocate of conservation leading to the creation of the Everglades Headwaters NWR and Conservation Area earlier this year. Charlie’s 32-year career with the NWRS sets a standard for other staff and managers to follow. As the refuge manager for the Pelican Island NWR Complex, his conservation vision attracted the attention of the Arthur R. Marshall Foundation and led to Charlie receiving the “Champion of the Everglades” Award in 2011.

Kathleen “Kate” O’Brien will receive the Employee of the Year Award. Kate is the wildlife biologist at the Rachel Carson NWR in Maine where her tireless work with the endangered New England cottontail rabbit and her work globally with the rare saltmarsh sharp-tailed sparrows is unparalleled. Kate is a leader and a biologist to the core and is considered an expert in migratory bird research and management by her peers.

David Govatski will receive the Volunteer of the Year Award. David has committed himself to a lifetime of public service including more than 25 years with the United States military where he retied as a master sergeant with the Vermont Army National Guard. He concurrently served for 30 years as a forester and fire and aviation manager officer for the U.S. Forest Service. He volunteers at the Silvio O. Conte NF&WR and also volunteers his time at the White Mountain national Forest.

The Coastal Wildlife Refuge Society is being honored as the Friends Group of the Year. This group works closely with refuge staff at the Alligator River and Pea Island NWRs in North Carolina, and is actively involved in engaging current and future wildlife enthusiasts of all ages. The CWRS was a founding partner in the annual Wings over Water Festival, which helps coordinate programs on two national seashores, four national wildlife refuges, and two state parks, and is in its 15th year running. Proceeds from the event support a transportation grant program that pays for school buses and drivers to bring students to local national wildlife refuges. The group also sponsors wildlife clubs for hundreds of elementary, middle, and high school students.

For additional information about this award and the National Wildlife Refuge Association, please visit: http://refugeassociation.org/people/awards/

For additional information about the National Fish and Wildlife Foundation visit: http://www.nfwf.org

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