California Wildlife Conservation Board Named Conservationist of the Year

March 7, 2013
John Donnelly, Wildlife Conservation Board, (916) 445-0137
Dana Michaels, CDFW Communications, (916) 322-2420

The Wildlife Society’s (TWS) Western Section awarded the California Wildlife Conservation Board (WCB) the 2013 Conservationist of the Year Award. This annual award is given to a person or group engaged in wildlife conservation – either as a profession or as an avocation – that has made an outstanding contribution to wildlife conservation in California, Nevada, Hawaii or Guam. These award recipients have demonstrated an active concern for wildlife conservation by accomplishing projects or programs that have significantly enhanced wildlife resource conservation within the Western Section geographical area.

Originally created within the California Department of Natural Resources in 1947, and later placed with the California Department of Fish and Wildlife, the WCB is a separate and independent Board with authority and funding to carry out programs for wildlife conservation. The WCB’s three main functions are land protection, habitat restoration and development of wildlife-oriented public access facilities. Over the past ten years, the WCB has encumbered more than one billion dollars to protect and restore hundreds of thousands of acres of precious wildlife habitats. In 2012 alone, approximately $89 million in WCB expenditures were matched by nearly $97 million in partner contributions. That money was used to acquire nearly 15,000 acres of wildlife habitat, protect nearly 33,000 acres of wildlife habitat through the acquisition of conservation easements, restore and enhance more than 4,000 acres of critical wildlife habitats, and develop or improve eight separate public access facilities.

“We are honored to receive this award,” said John P. Donnelly, WCB’s Executive Director, “especially given the fact that we were recognized by scientists and habitat managers from both inside and outside California, many of whom work internationally as well. The dedicated staff working here at the WCB made this award possible.”

The award was presented recently at the Western Section’s Annual Meeting in Sacramento. Founded in 1936 as the Society of Wildlife Specialists and renamed The Wildlife Society the following year, TWS is an international non-profit scientific and educational association dedicated to excellence in wildlife stewardship through science and education. Their mission is to enhance the ability of wildlife professionals and wildlife students to conserve diversity, sustain productivity, and ensure responsible use of wildlife resources and their habitats. Their members actively manage forests, conserve wetlands, restore endangered species, conserve wildlife on private and public lands, resolve wildlife damage and disease problems, and enhance biological diversity.  The Western Section of TWS is comprised of over 1000 wildlife managers, biologists, ecologists, and students from California, Nevada, Hawaii and Guam, all devoted to the sustainable conservation of wildlife in the western United States region.