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Terri Edwards 413/253-8324 (digital photos of award presentation available on request)

Montezuma National Wildlife Refuge Manager Receives John S. Gottschalk Conservation Partnership Award

Tom Jasikoff, manager of Montezuma National Wildlife Refuge and the St. Lawrence Wetland and Grassland Management District, recently received the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service’s John S. Gottschalk Award in recognition of the partnerships he has fostered to promote and protect these federal public lands.

"Tom shares his commitment to natural resource conservation with contagious enthusiasm," said Richard O. Bennett, Ph.D., Acting Northeast Regional Director for the Service. "He has cultivated positive and lasting relationships with governing officials, private landowners, environmentalists and others to both conserve wildlife resources on the refuge as well as to make them accessible to visitors. His vision has made the Service a welcome and vital part of the community."

"Receiving the John S. Gottschalk Award is a great honor and a highlight of my 27-year career with the Service," said Jasikoff. "Working in the outdoors - protecting fish, wildlife and other natural resources - is extremely meaningful to me. I have the privilege of working for an organization with a conservation mission that I value and support."


According to Bennett, Jasikoff was recognized for his instrumental role in many conservation partnerships, including:

bulletthe restoration and protection of habitats on 33,000 acres in the Northern Montezuma Wetlands Complex, a partnership among the Service, the New York Department of Environmental Conservation, Ducks Unlimited, and the Friends of Montezuma Wetlands Complex;
bulletthe development of the New York Audubon Conservation Education Center, scheduled to open later this year, which will serve as the information and education focal point for the wetlands complex;
bulletthe establishment and ongoing protection of the St. Lawrence Grasslands and Wetlands Management District. This includes regularly working with landowners to restore wetlands on private property; and,
bulletthe promotion of a multimillion-dollar project that will create a rest area along the New York Thruway where it bisects the refuge. The project will restore wetlands, re-route an unsafe refuge auto tour, and prove environmental education opportunities to thousands of travelers.


The award, presented annually to a Northeast Region staff member, is named for John S. Gottschalk, a former Northeast Regional Director who went on to become the Service Director in the mid-1960s. Gottschalk was a champion of community involvement and partnerships in conserving natural resources. Jasikoff received the award in a ceremony held late last month at the Service’s regional office in Hadley, Mass., at which employees, organizations and individuals were honored for their commitment to conservation.

Montezuma National Wildlife Refuge lies at the north end of Cayuga Lake in the heart of the Finger Lakes Region of New York. Located 5 miles east of Seneca Falls, the 8,220-acre refuge serves as a major resting area for waterfowl and other water birds on their journeys to and from nesting areas in northeastern and east-central Canada. It was established in 1938.

The St. Lawrence Wetland and Grassland Management District was established in 1997 to protect grassland and wetland habitats for migratory birds in the St. Lawrence River valley. These diverse habitats are important to several rare bird species, as well as the largest breeding population of mallards - 40,000 birds - in the Atlantic Flyway.

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. The Service manages the 95-million-acre National Wildlife Refuge System which encompasses nearly 540 national wildlife refuges, thousands of small wetlands and other special management areas. It also operates 66 national fish hatcheries, 64 fishery resource offices and 78 ecological services field stations. The agency enforces federal wildlife laws, administers the Endangered Species Act, manages migratory bird populations, restores nationally significant fisheries, conserves and restores wildlife habitat such as wetlands, and helps foreign governments with their conservation efforts. It also oversees the Federal Aid program that distributes hundreds of millions of dollars in excise taxes on fishing and hunting equipment to state fish and wildlife agencies.


Tom Jasikoff can be reached at 315/568-5987.




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