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April 11, 2003 Dick Cole, 703-358-1886
Dr. Jim Montgomery
U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service Volunteer
“Takes Pride in America”
Dr. Jim Montgomery, the 2003 National Wildlife Refuge System volunteer of the year, has invested more than 10,000 volunteer hours in projects at the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service’s Bitter Lake National Wildlife Refuge in Roswell, N.M., since 1988. Located where the Chihuahuan Desert meets the southern plains, Bitter Lake National Wildlife Refuge provides habitats for some of the rarest creatures in New Mexico. Dr. Montgomery’s efforts have primarily involved research on sandhill cranes, interior least terns -- an endangered species -- and small mammals.
AThe reliable scientific biological data Jim has collected on and near the refuge through the years represents a wealth of information that simply would be unknown without his patient and dedicated work,@ said Ken Butts, manager of the Bitter Lake National Wildlife Refuge. AHe is our >volunteer extraordinaire.=@ Butts says that Dr. Montgomery=s contribution to the refuge is equivalent to having another full-time employee on his staff.
Dr. Montgomery is a professor of biology and chair of the Department of Biology of the New Mexico Military Institute B NMMI. A 1962 graduate of Jonesboro (Arkansas) High School, he holds a Bachelor of Science degree in Wildlife Conservation from Oklahoma State University, a Master of Science degree in Zoology from the University of Arkansas, and a Ph.D. in Zoology from Texas Tech University. A member of the NMMI faculty since August 1981, Dr. Montgomery received the FEITA (Funk Excellence in Teaching Award) in Spring
2002. He also serves as a member of the board of directors and treasurer for the Friends of Bitter Lake National Wildlife Refuge.
"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 Dr. Montgomery make 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.