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April 11, 2003                                                                                                                            Dick Cole, 703-358-1886


Rosalita Spiller

U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service Volunteer

“Takes Pride in America”


Rosalita Spiller has contributed more than 8,000 hours as a volunteer over the past 14 years to the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Services Crab Orchard National Wildlife Refuge in Marion, Ill. The refuge provides significant resting areas for migratory birds utilizing the Mississippi Flyway. Wintering numbers of Canada Geese can peak at 200,000. A total of 700 plant species, 245 bird species, 33 mammal species, 63 fish species and 44 reptile and amphibian species have been documented on the refuge.

The Alton, N.Y., native has helped thousands of students better understand and explore the rich natural resources within the refuge and the conservation of these resources according to refuge manager Rick Frietsche. “She assists with most of the refuge’s special events, leads bus tours on the refuge, guides wildflower walks and eagle tours and has developed a monthly calendar of events she has published continuously for 10 years,” Frietsche said. “Time for a lot of people is their most valuable possession. What a wonderful thing it is to have volunteers like Rosalita who give that gift to the National Wildlife Refuge System.”

The 52-year-old Spiller was selected as the 1990 Crab Orchard Volunteer of the Year, was the winner of the refuge’s 1991 Beyond the Call of Duty Award and 1992 Woodsman of the World Conservationist of the Year.  Spiller and her husband, Thomas, were named the 1997 Conservation Family of the Year largely due to their volunteer efforts at the Crab Orchard National Wildlife Refuge.




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"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 Rosalita Spiller 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.