Tuesday, March 12, 2013


Local group acknowledges individual achievements in conservation
PRATT ­– The Kansas Wildlife Federation (KWF) honored 13 individuals and organizations for their conservation efforts in 2012 at the Conservation Achievement Program (CAP) Awards banquet on Feb. 23. The banquet, held in Emporia, was part of KWF’s annual meeting. Activities prior to the banquet included a social hour and silent auction. The evening concluded with a presentation by guest speaker Bob Gress, wildlife photographer and former Director of the Great Plains Nature Center.

Out of the 13 awards given, five of the recipients have been or are currently employed by the Kansas Department of Wildlife, Parks and Tourism (KDWPT):
Matt Smith, Wildlife Conservationist Award
Smith began his career with KDWPT as a district wildlife biologist in the southwest part of the state. He later moved to a similar position at Wilson where he took on the additional responsibility of serving as a Natural Resources and Conservation Service (NRCS) area biologist. Recently, Smith has been focusing on Farm Bill issues important to the welfare of Kansas wildlife and their habitat. He currently resides in Wilson.
Randy Rodgers and Helen Hands, Land and Soil Wildlife Conservationist Award
Rodgers provided years of valuable service to KDWPT as an upland bird research biologist. He researched and developed options to improve habitat on private land in conjunction with crop production. Now retired, Rodgers and Hands, his wife – also a former KDWPT biologist – are developing wildlife habitat on their private land. They currently reside in Hays.
Thayne Smith, Conservation Communicator Award
Smith served as the chief of Information and Education for the Kansas Fish and Game Commission from 1966-1970. In that capacity, he edited the Kansas Fish & Game magazine. Smith was a founding member of the Outdoor Writers of Kansas organization, which is still active today. He was also the first recipient of the Conservation Communication award in 1967. Smith currently resides in Claremore, OK.
Other 2012 award recipients include:
  • Mike Knotts, Peck, KS: Outdoor Skills Instructor Award
  • Robert Robel, Manhattan, KS: Conservationist of the Year Award
  • Stephen DeHart, Olathe, KS: Youth Conservationist Award
  • Stephen Pletcher, Emporia, KS: Conservation Educator Award
  • Kansas Grazing Lands Coalition, Hutchinson, KS: Conservation Organization Award
  • Tom Meek, Clay Center, KS: Water Conservationist Award
  • Paul and Kristan Dean, Madison, KS: Forest Conservationist Award
  • Mike Calwell, Shawnee Mission, KS: Stream Monitor Award
  • Caleb Stotts, Fredonia, KS: Farmer/Rancher Wildlife Conservationist Award
  • Ted Beringer, Lenexa, KS: President's Award
KWF, an affiliate of the National Wildlife Federation, has been dedicated to the sustainable use, conservation, appreciation, and restoration of Kansas wildlife and natural resources since 1950.

For more information on how you can support KWF, visit: www.kswildlife.org/donate.php or call (316) 214-3001.

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