2012 Wetland Conservation Achievement Awards

DU recognizes contributions to wetlands and waterfowl conservation

ATLANTA – March 16, 2012 – Ducks Unlimited announced today the winners of the 2012 Wetland Conservation Achievement Awards during the 77th annual North American Wildlife and Natural Resources Conference, held at the Hilton Atlanta.

DU's 2012 Wetland Conservation Achievement Awards were presented in six categories and recognized individuals who have made outstanding contributions to the restoration and conservation of North America’s wetlands and waterfowl. DU Chief Conservation Officer Paul Schmidt presented the awards. This year's winners are: 



Senior Federal Official Secretary of the Interior Ken Salazar
Federal Agency Robert S. McLean
State/Provincial Agency Joe Kramer
Research/Technical Dr. John M. Eadie
Conservation/Private Citizen James C. Kennedy
Communications David Sikes

"We have the opportunity this morning to celebrate some of conservation's recent successes by honoring several individuals who have made significant contributions to North American conservation through their achievements and valued, effective partnerships," Schmidt said as he prepared to present the awards. "DU is honored to recognize the award winners' work and hopes their personal achievements inspire others to follow suit."

2012 Award Winners

Senior Federal Official,
Secretary of the Interior Ken Salazar

USFWS Director Dan Ashe accepts Senior Federal Official award for Interior Secretary Ken Salazar
USFWS Director Dan Ashe accepts the Senior Federal Official award on behalf of Interior Secretary Ken Salazar.

Secretary of the Interior Ken Salazar has been a standout national leader in conservation policy in Washington, D.C. His vision for the Dakota Grasslands Conservation Area as a jewel in America's conservation crown and including it in the America's Great Outdoors effort has inspired other organizations to join the effort. In the face of the disastrous oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico, he challenged all of us to not just restore the area to the conditions before the spill, but to do more to restore coastal habitats, addressing the chronic issues that have long impacted the region. He has championed the North American Wetlands Conservation Act across the country and has been an advocate of strong funding for the program. In short, his efforts exemplify government at its best. As a sportsman himself, Secretary Salazar has invested in everything from the State of the Birds report to a special edition of the federal duck stamp dedicated to restoring national wildlife refuges along our Gulf Coast impacted by the oil spill. He has been an active leader as the chairman of the Migratory Bird Conservation Commission, an enthusiastic partner to wildlife conservation organizations and a catalyst to creating a collective voice for the Department of the Interior’s conservation stakeholders.

Full release on Secretary Salazar »

Federal Agency, Robert S. McLean

Robert S. Mclean wins Federal Agency awardRobert S. McLean has been a strong force for conservation in Canada and across North America for the past 35 years. He has been an active proponent of the North American Waterfowl Management Plan as a board member of all Canadian NAWMP joint ventures, co-chair of the international NAWMP Plan Committee and NAWMP spokesperson in Canada. He led the Canadian Wildlife Service's commitment to the North American Wetlands Conservation Act. As director of the Wildlife Conservation Branch of Environment Canada, McLean became a trusted partner within the Canadian and American conservation communities. And in his current position as executive director of the Habitat and Ecosystem Conservation Division of the Canadian Wildlife Service, McLean continues to grow his already extensive habitat stewardship portfolio, with responsibilities including the recovery of Species at Risk, federal protected areas, large-scale landscape assessment and management, ecological gifts and management of invasive species. NAWCA, the habitat joint ventures and Ramsar also remain under his steadfast watch.

State/Provincial Agency, Joe Kramer

Joe Kramer wins State Agency awardIn his 34-year conservation career, Joe Kramer has made significant contributions to the future of waterfowl and wetlands in Kansas, the Central Flyway and beyond, as well as the people tasked with managing and maintaining them. In just 11 years, he rose through the ranks at the Kansas Department of Wildlife, Parks and Tourism to become chief of the Wildlife and Fisheries Division, the position in which he still serves conservation today. He has been responsible for hiring more than 120 of the Division's 150 employees, who currently make up one of the most highly motivated and progressive state conservation staffs in the United States. Kramer has served on the Central Flyway Council for 11 years, 10 of them as the council's representative to the North American Waterfowl Management Plan Committee. He was a founding board member of the Playa Lakes Joint Venture and served as chairman from 1991 to 1993. Kramer has been a leader in fostering wetlands conservation partnership across Kansas and beyond and has partnered with Ducks Unlimited and others to conserve more than 18,000 acres of wetlands across the state.

Full release on Joe Kramer »

Research/Technical, Dr. John M. Eadie

Dr. John M. Eadie wins Research/Technical awardDr. John M. Eadie has spent his illustrious scientific career bridging the gap between academia and on-the-ground wetlands and waterfowl conservation. He has held the post of Dennis G. Raveling Professor of Waterfowl Biology at the University of California-Davis since 1995, serving as an accomplished avian scientist, professor and respected graduate student mentor. Dr. Eadie has worked tirelessly to ensure that conservation under the North American Waterfowl Management Plan is based on the best science available. As a member of the Central Valley Joint Venture's Technical Committee, Dr. Eadie has advanced understanding of key conservation issues and was a major contributor to the joint venture's 2006 Implementation Plan. He has co-authored numerous publications exploring a broad range of topics important to California and the Pacific Flyway, including wildlife values of North American rice fields and moist-soil habitat food values. Dr. Eadie also played a central role in developing a program that introduces University of California-Davis wildlife upperclassmen—future managers of state and federal wildlife programs—to our waterfowl hunting heritage through a life-changing "College Camp" weekend.

Full release on Dr. John M. Eadie »

Conservation/Private Citizen, James C. Kennedy

Jamie Kennedy accepts Private Citizen/Conservation award for his father, James C. Kennedy
Jamie Kennedy accepts the Private Citizen/Conservation award on behalf of his father, James C. Kennedy.

James C. Kennedy, chairman of Cox Enterprises Inc. in Atlanta, is a lifelong conservationist, humanitarian and philanthropist committed to the future of waterfowl and wetlands across North America. Kennedy has spent decades helping conservation organizations, including Ducks Unlimited, fulfill their conservation missions. He has acquired and personally restored tens of thousands of acres of waterfowl habitat across the country, including the landmark 6,000-acre York Woods property near Charleston, Mississippi. This is a model working farm and waterfowl conservation complex in a key wintering region. Kennedy has donated tens of millions of dollars toward a variety of natural resources causes. Recognizing the critical importance of educating and training the waterfowl and wetland professionals of the future, in 2008, he established the James C. Kennedy Endowed Chair in Waterfowl and Wetlands Conservation in the Department of Wildlife, Fisheries and Aquaculture in the College of Forest Resources at Mississippi State University. Kennedy's gift sustains in perpetuity the teaching, research and outreach program in waterfowl and wetlands science and conservation at MSU.

Full release on James C. Kennedy »

Communications, David Sikes

David Sikes wins Communications awardSince becoming the outdoors columnist for the "Corpus Christi Caller-Times" in 1998, David Sikes has been a driving force for communicating issues important to waterfowl and wetlands conservation along the Gulf Coast and throughout Texas. In his twice-weekly column and freelance work in many Texas magazines and periodicals, Sikes has covered topics such as sea grass protection in coastal Texas; invasive species; water availability; North American Wetlands Conservation Act grant impacts; and the economic benefits that flow from hunting, fishing and outdoor recreation. He has spent the last decade using his writing to promote the work of conservation organizations and the benefits that work provides for hunters and waterfowl. Sikes is a longtime member of the board of directors of the Texas Outdoor Writers Association and became president of the board in February. He has earned many awards in the Texas writing community and was recently named the 2012 Professional Conservationist of the Year by the Harvey Weil Foundation.

Full release on David Sikes »

Ducks Unlimited is the world's largest nonprofit organization dedicated to conserving North America's continually disappearing waterfowl habitats. Established in 1937, DU is celebrating its 75th anniversary this year, with special events, projects and promotions across the continent. Ducks Unlimited has conserved more than 12 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.

Emily Havens
(901) 758-3851