RIDGELAND, Miss. – Jan. 25, 2010 – The Mississippi Wildlife Federation has selected Curtis Hopkins, Ph.D., as their 2009 Conservationist of the Year. Hopkins, director of Ducks Unlimited's Southern Region, has been contributing to conservation for nearly 40 years.
"It is truly an honor to recognize Curtis as our 2009 MWF Conservationist of the Year," Cathy Shropshire, MWF executive director, said. "His efforts have helped to protect and restore vital wetland habitats and ensure that associated species continue to be part of Mississippi's natural resource treasures."
"Curtis is a coalition - and consensus-builder among diverse groups of stakeholders with sometimes divergent interests regarding natural resources," said DU Senior Director for Conservation Ken Babcock. "He is considered an unfaltering conservationist. His integrity and commitment to managing the natural resources of Mississippi and the nation have provided an excellent example for others to follow."
From the time he served as the first president of the Mississippi State University student chapter of The Wildlife Society, Dr. Hopkins has been influencing wildlife conservation in the state of Mississippi. Throughout nearly 40 years in the field working for the U.S. Forest Service, Mississippi State University, Texas A&M University, and Ducks Unlimited, he has continually developed programs that put habitat conservation on the ground.
Dr. Hopkins is a Mississippi State University Alumni Fellow and has received several awards for his conservation efforts including The Wildlife Society's Jim McDonough Award, Renew America – National Award for Environmental Sustainability, and DU's Outstand Regional Director Award. He has served on numerous committees and advisory panels for a variety of state, federal and non-profit natural resource focused organizations.
"His opinions are highly valued for being well-reasoned and practical while remaining science-based," Babcock said. "The work he did in establishing cooperative agreements with the Natural Resource Conservation Service to deliver restoration through the Wetlands Reserve Program served as a national model. The success of that program has resulted in conservation of more than 3 million acres of wetlands nationwide."
"We are indeed privileged to have Curtis on the front lines of conservation in Mississippi and throughout the Southeast," Shropshire said.
The Mississippi Wildlife Federation was established in 1946 to advance the protection of wildlife in Mississippi. Now, over 60 years later, the Mississippi Wildlife Federation is the largest network of conservationists in the state.
Ducks Unlimited is the world's largest non-profit organization dedicated to conserving North America's continually disappearing waterfowl habitats. Established in 1937, Ducks Unlimited has conserved more than 13 million acres thanks to contributions from more than a million supporters across the continent. Guided by science and dedicated to program efficiency, DU works toward the vision of wetlands sufficient to fill the skies with waterfowl today, tomorrow, and forever.