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      March 22, 2010

Fish and Game Commission Honors Four for Commitment to Conservation

2009 Fish and Game Commission Awardees

NEWS MEDIA: Click to download a high-res image 

Bill Carney
Bill Carney of Bow, N.H., - winner, Ellis R. Hatch Jr. Commission Award of Excellence  

Doug Smithwood and George May
George May (left) and Doug Smithwood (right), representing the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service's Adopt-a-Salmon Program,
winner of the Conservation Organization award

Cathie Gregg
Cathie Gregg, of Madison, a wildlife rehabilitator, won the Volunteer award

Lyndall Demers
Lyndall Demers, Editor/Owner of the Great Northwoods Journal

CONCORD, N.H. -- Four New Hampshire citizens and organizations have been recognized by the New Hampshire Fish and Game Commission with Awards of Excellence for their efforts in the conservation field in support of the New Hampshire Fish and Game Department’s mission.

"What a great honor it is to present these awards," said Sharon Guaraldi, Fish and Game Commissioner from Grafton County and chair of the Commission's Awards of Excellence program, at an awards presentation at Fish and Game's Great Bay Discovery Center in Greenland in March.  "The people we are honoring and their work make a significant contribution to the mission of New Hampshire’s wildlife agency, the N.H. Fish and Game Department."

The 2009 Commission Award of Excellence recipients:

The Ellis R. Hatch Jr. Commission Award of Excellence was presented to Bill Carney, of Bow, N.H.   Former Commissioner Ellis R. Hatch Jr. personally presented the award, which carries his name and is the highest of the Commission honors. "The Fish and Game Commission honors Bill today for his work to support fish and wildlife resources, the Department and the entire sporting community," said Hatch. He cited Carney’s many contributions to the mission of Fish and Game, including representing the interests of sportsmen and women and sporting clubs in testimony before the State Legislature. Carney testifies at hearings and works tirelessly on the phone, by e-mail and in columns in the "Hawkeye Hunting & Fishing News" to keep people informed and involved in issues affecting fish and wildlife resources. Another of Carney's accomplishments was helping to save the Anadromous Fish Program and the Nashua Fish Hatchery through leadership of the Merrimack Migratory Fish Alliance. With a small ad-hoc committee, Carney raised $15,000 in private funds to match federal funds, which allowed Fish and Game to replace a worn-out anadromous fish transport truck to keep the stocking programs running.  He successfully worked to initiate a saltwater license for New Hampshire, and continues to build public awareness of the need for construction of boat access sites on New Hampshire's big lakes. "It is a great personal honor to present this Award of Excellence to Bill Carney," said Hatch.

The Conservation Organization Award of Excellence went to the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service's Adopt-a-Salmon Program, which exists to educate hundreds of middle school students about wildlife habitat, water resources and the salmon lifecycle. Now in its 14th year, the Adopt-a-Salmon program would not exist without the leadership of biologist Doug Smithwood and retired teacher George May, the program's volunteer coordinator. By giving students from Lincoln, N.H., to Lowell, Mass., a first-hand look at the salmon restoration process, the program gets kids outdoors and teaches them that they personally can do something to help the environment. Students come to the federal fish hatchery in Nashua late in the year to see how eggs are taken from female salmon and fertilized with milt from the males. They get an extensive tour of the facility and then take fertilized eggs back to their classrooms to raise in chilled aquariums.  In the spring, the students arrive at the Souhegan and other rivers in the Merrimack watershed, where George May and his volunteers help them release their salmon fry (young fish) into the wild. In the process, students learn about watersheds and fish habitat -- from headwaters of streams and rivers to feeding grounds in the Atlantic Ocean.  "To have a program that connects children with nature, you have to make it a hands-on, intimate experience," said Smithwood.  "That's what we're able to offer through the Adopt-a-Salmon program."
 
The Volunteer Award of Excellence was earned by Cathie Gregg of Madison, N.H.
Gregg has worked as a wildlife rehabilitator at the Elaine Conners Center for Wildlife for 20 years.  Her ability to care for orphaned large mammals, such as deer and moose, and release them back to the wild is especially important to Fish and Game. She carries a photo of two moose calves she raised in one year (they were released at 6 months of age).  "That was the experience of a lifetime," said Gregg.  People in New Hampshire expect Fish and Game to do all it can to afford orphaned animals a chance for survival in the wild, and Gregg's efforts are crucial in making this a reality. With the closure of the Brentwood Wildlife Research Facility at the University of New Hampshire in 2004, some means of raising young, orphaned fawns was critical to minimize the need to euthanize these otherwise healthy animals. These fawns need to be raised in a way that ensures they will not become habituated to people, reducing the chance they will become potential nuisance animals. This is a costly volunteer activity, both in the dedication of time and financial resources; during the last 6 years, the Center has spent nearly $24,000 per year to rehabilitate fawns.  In addition to caring for orphaned animals, Gregg has been dogged in educating the public about the proper response to seemingly abandoned baby animals.  "The most important message is NOT to pick up wildlife," said Gregg. "Call first to see if intervention is needed." Contact information for wildlife rehabilitators is posted on the Fish and Game website at www.wildnh.com/Wildlife/wildlife_rehabbers.htm.

The Communication Award of Excellence was given to the "Great Northwoods Journal," based in Lancaster, N.H., a free paper published weekly and distributed in the North Country. The Journal not only covers large-scale rescues conducted by Fish and Game, but also regularly delves into many other aspects of the Department’s work of interest to outdoors enthusiasts.  The publication lists Hunter Education and Off Highway Recreational Vehicle (OHRV) safety education courses, reports on local projects undertaken by clubs, prints many photos of successful youth hunters, and apprises the public about local fish and wildlife investigations. "The more people are able to participate in outdoor activities, such as turkey hunting, game hunting, fishing groups, hiking, and educational programs provided by the Fish and Game, the more likely they are to appreciate and help protect those surroundings," said Lyndall Demers, Editor/Owner of the Journal. "The Great Northwoods Journal is glad to be able to help get the word out about the programs that are available to both adults and children in our state." Visit the publication online at www.greatnorthwoodsjournal.net.

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This is the fifth year for the New Hampshire Fish and Game Commission Awards of Excellence. There are seven award categories, and nominations must be submitted by December 31 of each year.  For a description of the awards and award categories, profiles of past winners, and a nomination form to honor your conservation hero or worthy organization for next year's awards, go to www.wildnh.com/Inside_FandG/commission_awards.html.

The New Hampshire Fish and Game Department is the guardian of the state’s fish, wildlife and marine resources and their habitats. Visit www.WildNH.com.

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