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April 11, 2003 Dick Cole, 703-358-1886
U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service Volunteer
“Takes Pride in America”
When work brought Steve Noyes to Maryland in 1970, a childlike fascination with nature was rekindled. After seeing a northern goshawk nearly 30 years ago during a hawk watch in Waggoner’s Gap, Penn., Noyes became “hooked” on birding. In 1992, the New Hampshire native decided to share his love for birds by volunteering to lead bird walks, teaching a “basics of birding” class and supervising a bluebird nest box monitoring program at Maryland’s Patuxent Research Refuge.
Patuxent Research Refuge supports a diversity of wildlife in forest, meadow and wetland habitats. The land is managed to maintain biological diversity for the protection and benefit of native and migratory species. During the fall and spring migrations, many waterfowl species stop to rest and feed. More than 200 species of birds occur on the Refuge. A nesting pair of bald eagles has used the North Tract of the Refuge since 1989.
A “jack of all trades,” the 59-year-old Noyes serves as a volunteer naturalist at the refuge and has contributed more than 10,000 hours of service in the refuge’s National Wildlife Visitor Center and North Tract. Noyes has also photographed much of the flora and fauna on the refuge as well as the day-to-day activities of staff and visitors, managed the Friends of Patuxent’s Wildlife Images Bookstore, produced the monthly newsletter for the refuge volunteers and actively recruited others into the volunteer program.
“We are blessed to have such energetic and dedicated volunteers as Steve,” said Brad Knudsen, the refuge’s manager. “He is ‘ageless’ and it just goes to show that volunteering keeps a person young,” Knudsen said.
"This is a special year for the National Wildlife Refuge System, because we are celebrating its centennial anniversary," said Steve Williams, Director of the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service. "We should all recognize that the contributions of volunteers like Steve Noyes makes it possible for us to conserve these wonderful places and provide opportunities for the public to enjoy them."
The only system of federal lands devoted specifically to wildlife, the National Wildlife Refuge System is a network of diverse and strategically located habitats. The system teems with millions of migratory birds, serves as a haven for hundreds of endangered species, and hosts an enormous variety of other plants and animals. The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service is the principal Federal agency responsible for conserving, protecting and enhancing fish, wildlife and plants and their habitats for the continuing benefit of the American people.