WASHINGTON, D.C. - At a ceremony in the nation’s capital today, Secretary of the Interior Dirk Kempthorne recognized The Northern Forest Woodcock Initiative as one of 21 recipients nationwide of the Department of the Interior’s Cooperative Conservation Award.
The 21 awards recognized the work of more than 700 groups and individuals who achieved excellence in conservation through collaboration and partnerships.
“These outstanding partnerships and cooperative efforts represent a fundamental way in which our Department provides stewardship for America with integrity and excellence,” Secretary Kempthorne said. “They embody a broad spectrum of conservation work from restoring wetlands, rangelands and mine lands to protecting wildlife, conserving water and fighting invasive species to teaching conservation values to the next generation.”
The Northern Forest Woodcock Initiative is represented by more than 25 partners with a pledge to conserve and recover the American woodcock, a small bird that prefers dense vegetation. The species has declined substantially in recent decades with the loss of young forest and shrubland habitats. The award recognizes the partnership’s “vision and leadership in developing a highly collaborative and effective wildlife recovery effort,” (See list at end for some of the groups and individuals involved.)
Land ownership in the Northeast is a patchwork of private, state, and federal lands and thus private landowners are key partners. The initiative employs a multipronged strategy, including the use of demonstration areas, monitoring, and outreach designed to raise public awareness. Management is underway on 40 properties totaling more than 12,250 acres, including three national wildlife refuges.
The Department of the Interior’s Cooperative Conservation Award recognizes conservation achievements resulting from the cooperation and participation of individual landowners, citizen groups, private sector, nongovernmental organizations, and Federal, State, local, and/or tribal governments.
“This is a fitting start to a week of Earth Day activities,” the Secretary told the crowd at the main Interior auditorium. “If anyone were to ask me why America is the world leader in conservation of natural resources, I would simply point to the people in this auditorium. You are the spirit and you are the hands of cooperative conservation.”
Northern Forest Woodcock Initiative (New England and New York)
Nominated by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service
Audubon Society of New Hampshire
Richard A. Minard, Jr.
Berkshire Natural Resource Council
Connecticut Dept. of Environmental Protection
Connecticut Woodcock Council
The Conservation Fund
The Cowls Companies
Doris Duke Charitable Foundation
Essex Timber Company, LLC
Friends of Moosehorn National Wildlife Refuge
International Paper Corporation
David A. Liebetreu
J.D. Irving Timberlands
Lyme Timber Company
Maine Dept. of Inland Fisheries and Wildlife
Massachusetts Division of Fisheries and Wildlife
National Wild Turkey Federation
Natural Resource Conservation Service
Christopher R. Jones
New England Forestry Foundation
New Hampshire Fish and Game Department
New York Dept. of Environmental Conservation
Northeastern Association of Fish and Wildlife Agencies
Plum Creek Timber Company
Lorin L. Hicks
Ruffed Grouse Society, Inc.
Matthew A. Cole
Upland Forestry, Inc.
U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service
U.S. Geological Survey
Vermont Electric Power Company
Jeffrey S. Disorda
Vermont Fish and Wildlife Department
Wildlife Conservation Society
Wildlife Management Institute
Scot J. Williamson