Refuge System Awards Past Winners
Refuge Manager of the Year — Jackie Ferrier
Jackie Ferrier, of the Willapa National Wildlife Refuge Complex in Washington, was awarded the 2019 Paul Kroegel National Wildlife Refuge System Refuge Manager of the Year. 2019 marked the first time in the award’s 25 year history that a female Refuge Manager had been selected for the prestigious award. Ms. Ferrier’s extraordinary work taking on the complex issues made her most deserving of the award. Her efforts on Spartina alterniflora eradication, dune restoration, protections for listed species including plovers, larks, and endangered Columbian White-tailed Deer are only a few examples of the remarkable work she is doing on behalf of species and refuges.
Refuge Employee Of the year— Eric s. Johnson
Eric Johnson is an Administrative Forester at the Central Arkansas National Wildlife Refuge Complex (NWRC) in Arkansas and has created first of their kind habitat management plans that will be used as a blueprint throughout the National Wildlife Refuge System. Mr. Johnson’s professional, technical skills and knowledge of the forestry profession has been instrumental to not only all the Arkansas NWRC has been able to accomplish, but for the future conservation goals, the National Wildlife Refuge System will accomplish. We thank him for his personal commitment and passion for wildlife habitat conservation.
Friends Group of the Year— Friends of Tennessee NWR
The Friends of Tennessee National Wildlife Refuge recently contributed over 12,000 volunteer hours being put towards various refuge activities including; environmental education, interpretation, and engagement with the surrounding community, wildlife monitoring, and habitat management. Their habitat management work ranges from managing moist soil units for wintering waterfowl and shorebirds and wood duck and Canada goose banding to applying for grants and developing partnerships and developing interpretive pollinator gardens. From advocacy to habitat restoration, the Friends of Tennessee National Wildlife Refuge are a perfect example of what a Refuge Friends Group can mean to a refuge and the National Wildlife Refuge System.
Volunteer of the year— Hal Fairfield
Harold Fairfield II, a volunteer at Ash Meadows National Wildlife Refuge in Nevada, was awarded the 2019 Volunteer of the Year recipient. Hal’s dedication to a number of threatened or endangered species has led to improvements in methodology for monitoring these critical species. His work on fish trap designs has increased effectiveness while minimizing stress and mortality of the refuge’s endangered fishes and a threatened aquatic invertebrate. A volunteer since 2011, Mr. Farified dedicates his time to be at the refuge weekly, rain or shine, and even in the heat of the Mojave Desert summer. Through September 2018, he has volunteered 7,521.5 hours total at Ash Meadows — 1,437 hours in the last 12 months alone.
Advocate of the year— Allen Williams
Allen Williams has led a movement across multiple school districts in the Lower Rio Grande Valley in Texas to connect youth to nature and more specifically to the Santa Ana National Refuge. With the direct assistance of Mr. Williams, the Santa Ana National Wildlife Refuge has engaged hundreds of teachers and thousands of students in environmental education and creating habitat in the urban environment. In a time when lack of relevancy is as great a threat as environmental pressures to National Wildlife Refuges across the country, Mr. Williams, who is the Landscaping/Wildlife Habitat Specialist for a local school district, is a true advocate dedicated to furthering the mission of the NWRS locally.