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MUCC’S 2011 Conservation Award Winners

June 28th, 2011

Here is the list of the 2011 Conservation Award winners that were honored at MUCC’s Annual Convention on June 25, 2011.

Legislative Conservationist of the Year

  • Senate Majority Leader Randy Richardville (R-Monroe): Originally introduced the Hunter Heritage bill in the last legislative session in November 2010, which would allow youngsters under 10 to hunt with a licensed, experienced adult mentor. While this was late in the session, this annoucement just prior to the firearm deer opener last year added visability and momentum for the bill in this new legislative session. Senate Majority Leader Richardville has supported it moving forward under Senator Joe Hune’s leadership.
  • Representative Frank Foster (R-Pellston): Rep. Foster, as chair of the Committee on Natural Resources, Tourism, and Outdoor Recreation, has provided strong support and leadership for the successful re-funding of the Pure Michigan campaign and adoption of the Hunter Heritage bill package. From this Chair, Representative Foster has also reached out to sportsmen’s groups to better understand their issues, to engage their counsel, and to connect faces to the names.

Youth Conservationist Award

  • Senator Joe Hune (R-Hamburg Township): Senator Joe Hune carried the Hunter Heritage bill into the 2011 Legislative Session as the primary sponsor of SB 207, which is currently awaiting the Governor’s signature. Michigan currently has some of the most stringent regulations on youth hunting in the nation, which are causing fewer young people to enjoy Michigan’s great outdoor tradition of hunting. The Mentored Youth Hunting Safety Program promoted by this legislation will allow thousands of Michigan youngsters to learn how to hunt properly with an adult mentor. It’s also a great way to further promote safe hunting practices while also improving Michigan’s last-in-the-nation hunter recruitment rate.
  • Representative Peter Pettalia (R-Presque Isle): In partnership with Senator Joe Hune, Rep. Pettalia led the House of Representatives in supporting his Hunter Heritage bill, HB 4371, which is also before the Governor for his signature now. In addition to allowing children under 10 to hunt with a mentor, the bill now also includes a discounted multi-species license package for youth. For only $7.50, youngsters can get develop into a well-rounded outdoors person by having licenses to hunt deer, small game, spring and fall turkey, as well as a fur harvester’s license and all species fishing license.

Special Conservation Award

  • Representative Bruce Rendon (R-Lake City): As sponsor of what’s become known as the Volunteer Bill, HB 4111, Representative Rendon created the framework for effective partnerships to be formed between private citizen volunteers and the Department of Natural Resources. This common-sense legislation will enable the DNR to work with willing volunteers to fulfill tasks that are currently stagnant due to a lack of resources (i.e., stream bank restoration, fish stocking, wildlife habitat, deer check stations, etc.). With MUCC and members of the Conservation Coalition in attendence, Rep. Rendon’s bill was signed by Governor Snyer as Public Act 65 of 2011.

Outstanding Conservationists of the Year Award

  • Ralph Dollhopf.  Serving as an On-Scene Coordinator for the EPA’s Emergency Response Team since 1985, Ralph Dollhopf has had a myriad of experiences with some of the country’s most note-worthy emergencies, most recently as EPA’s Incident Commander for the Enbridge Oil Spill in July of 2010 near e Kalamazoo River.
  • Greg Danneffel Although recently retired, Greg was a “lifer” with the various iterations of the DNR and DEQ, beginning in 1979, where he spent his career dealing with environmental contamination sites and protecting Michigan’s water quality. Working together with the EPA’s Ralph Dollhopf, Greg Danneffel served as the (then) DNRE’s Incident Commander on the Unified Command for the Engbridge Oil Spill.

 Unsung Hero Award

  • Jon Allan is the Executive Director of Environmental Policy and Intergovernmental Affairs for Consumers Energy Company.  In this capacity, Mr. Allan strives to integrate Consumers Energy Company’s environmental strategy in relationship to state and federal governmental and regulatory affairs.  Jon has also been described as a key player on numerous environmental policy issues, as someone who knows who to bring to the table to resolve issues, and as an excellent communicator with a keen understanding of the relationships between the environment and economy. 

Water Conservationist of the Year Award

  • Ken DeBeaussaert most recently served as the Director of the DEQ’s Office of the Great Lakes. Throughout his legislative and DEQ career, he has played a key role in developing a policy agenda to grow Michigan’s economy by protecting and restoring the Great Lakes, including the development of the MI-Great Lakes Plan and the Great Lakes Compact.

Ben East Award

  • Capital News Service. Founded in 1981 at MSU’s Journalism School, the Capital News Service (CNS) has provided coverage of state government, politics and public policies to newspapers, online news outlets and other media organizations for 30 years.  In their reporting, CNS student correspondents interview policymakers and opinion-shapers ranging from Cabinet directors to legislators to local officials and leaders of advocacy and professional organizations – including MUCC – on topics as diverse as the environment, education, taxes, elections, social services, health and economic development.

Affiliate of the Year

  • Michigan Hunting Dog Federation. The Michigan Hunting Dog Federation has been an excellent and equal partner with MUCC on many issues through the years and are advocates for both organizations. Unified by their dedication to “preserving the right to free cast our hunting dogs afield,” the Michigan Hunting Dog Federation is an advocacy and lobbying group for the tens of thousands of gun dog owners in the State of Michigan.  Together with MUCC, they work with legislators, the NRC, and participate on a number of wildlife-related advisory groups. They also had a fine contingent at MUCC’s recent Camo at the Capital event in March.

Past President’s Award

  • Fred Wilder. Mr. Fred Wilder was honored for the conservation work he has and still does at age 82, which includes habitat planting, highway clean-up, reclamation of an old landfill and establishing the Muskegon Lake Nature Preserve. He has also been a major benefactor to the Muskegon Conservation Club and to MUCC’s Camp for Kids program. In fact, Fred says that he attended MUCC’s first youth camp as a young lad!

Corporate Conservation Award

  • MSU Federal Credit Union.   The MUCC Conservation Partners program is an initiative aimed at bringing some of Michigan’s top businesses, companies and organizations into the MUCC and Michigan OutofDoors Magazine family. MSUFCU  has been right at the forefront as a Conservation Partner, connecting its services and programs to members of MUCC. Along with developing the MUCC VISA Affinity Card to help support MUCC and its mission while providing a service to both of our memberships, they also routinely do advertising and promotion in MichiganOutofDoors magazine, support Tracks magazine, and were sponsors of the recent Lieutenant Governors’ Sporting Clays for Kids Charity Shoot.

Conservation Project of the Year Award

  • Michigan Pheasants Restoration Initiative (MPRI). The MPRI is a conservation initiative of diverse partners working together to focus on the restoration of pheasants and habitat in Michigan, while also benefiting a suite of migratory birds and other grassland species and increasing hunter access and improving hunter recruitment. With a mix of public agencies and non-profit partners, including MUCC, the Initiative will work with private landowner coalitions who will agree to work together to maximize and enhance the pheasant habitat in their collective land holdings.

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