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National Wetlands Conservation Award

Posted on behalf of Rich Greenwood <rich_greenwood@smtp2.irm.r9.fws.gov>

An Iowa school for individuals with hearing disabilities and a married
couple from Michigan have been selected by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife
Service (Service) to receive the National Wetlands Conservation Award
(NWCA) to the Private Sector for their roles in wetland conservation. 
In the group category, the Iowa School for the Deaf  near Council
Bluffs, Iowa, was named the national NWCA winner.  Randy and Lois
Lanski, private landowners from Glennie, Michigan, were named NWCA
regional winners, representing the Great Lakes-Big Rivers Region.  The
NWCA awards are presented annually by the Service.
Each recipient will receive a framed 1997-98 Federal Duck Stamp print by
Federal Duck Stamp artist Bob Hautman and a framed certificate.
The NWCA was established by the Service in 1990.  The awards are
presented by the Service to honor individuals and groups or corporations
for significant contributions to the restoration, enhancement and
protection of wetlands in the United States.  These awards are presented
on the national level and within the Service's geographic regions.
In addition to the Iowa School for the Deaf (ISD), the other national
recipients are: national individual winner, Rebecca R. Shortland,
Savannah, Georgia; national individual runner-up, Sandy Urbaniak,
Waubay, South Dakota; and national group runner-up, Group-of-Six/
Richard Tryon, Fort Dick, California.
"The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and the Great Lakes-Big Rivers
Region are appreciative of the national winners and the regional winners
for all their respective accomplishments," said Bill Hartwig, Regional
Director for the Service. 
"We are especially proud of the award recipients from our Region.  They
have shown a commitment to restore and protect important wetlands in
their respective locations, and admirably provided outreach to promote
wetland conservation and wetland values to the public."
Award ceremonies are currently being arranged through DeSoto National
Wildlife Refuge (ISD) and Shiawassee National Wildlife Refuge (Randy and
Lois Lanski). Both award recipients have been involved with the
Service's Partners for Fish and Wildlife program, which has restored
more than 70,000 acres of privately owned wetlands throughout the Region
since 1987.
Iowa School for the Deaf
The ISD has focused on environmental education, including wetland
restoration, to provide formal and informal education and outreach to
students and the public with hearing disabilities.
Most recently, the ISD developed a cooperative project that has restored
a 2-acre wetland and 5 acres of native grasslands, and created a 20-acre 
environmental education demonstration site. This project has three
objectives: to provide the opportunity for children and adults with
disabilities within the general public to receive formal and/or informal
environmental education experiences; to provide a location for
individuals with disabilities to mainstream with the general public; and
to provide increased opportunities for improved mental and physical
health of all users through exercise and interaction with the
The ISD project site presents an example of the historic habitat setting
that prevailed locally in the Missouri River Valley.  Today, the site is
in an urban setting that includes buildings and highways--but important
habitats have been restored and enhanced for migrating waterfowl,
shorebirds, wading birds and resident wildlife.
A pair of mated tundra swans, provided by the Iowa Department of Natural 
Resources, and waterfowl nest structures will contribute toward the
restoration of indigenous waterfowl species once prevalent on the
project site.
The restored wetland and grassland habitats furnish a backdrop for 20
exhibits and educational areas currently being developed at the ISD's
Nature Center. Other features include a trail that connects to the
extensive Wabash Trace Trail, a windbreak demonstration area, a historic
forest grove, a loess hills demonstration area and an arboretum-style
The entire project is expected to be completed in 5 to 10 years at an 
approximate cost of $200,000.
Partners in this unique project include the National Park Service,
Natural Resources Conservation Service, Iowa State University Extension
Service, Iowa Department of Transportation/Living Roadway Trust Fund,
Iowa Department of Natural Resources, Pottawattamie County Conservation
Board, Area Education Agency, Ducks Unlimited, Pheasants Forever, Trees
Forever, Wildlife Forever and the Service. 
Randy and Lois Lanski
Private landowners who reside near Glennie, Michigan, the Lanskis have
restored and enhanced 5 wetlands amounting to 157 acres on their
600-acre property.  The first 2 wetlands they restored resulted in 52
acres and are known as the Heron Rookery.  Next, they restored the
50-acre Bear Lake Marsh and the 30-acre Beaver Lake Marsh, then the
17-acre North Marsh.
All the wetlands restored on their land were accomplished through the
Service's Partners for Fish and Wildlife program and were completed
between 1994 and 1996. In addition to their wetland acreage, the Lanskis
manage 390 acres of bottomland deciduous and coniferous forest
communities and 53 acres of native grasslands.
Their restored wetlands provide important migration and nesting habitat
for many species of migratory birds, including Canada geese, bitterns
and prothonotary warblers.  Mallards and wood ducks are common nesting
ducks.  During annual migrations, bald eagles and osprey are regular
visitors.  Great blue herons are recolonizing Heron Marsh.
Other nesting nongame and migratory shorebirds, waterbirds and songbirds
are responding to the restored wetlands and surrounding managed forest.
Wild turkeys are increasing because of enhanced nesting and
brood-rearing habitat; ruffed grouse are responding to extensive forest
Furthermore, the wetlands restored by the Lanskis are providing flood
control for downstream residents and improving the water quality of two
associated creeks by filtering pollutants and runoff from adjacent roads
and lawns of local residences.
In addition to working through the Partners for Fish and Wildlife
program, Randy and Lois Lanski conduct habitat programs in cooperation
with the Michigan Department of Natural Resources, the Alcona County
Natural Resources Conservation Service,  Ducks Unlimited, and Michigan
Wildlife Habitat Foundation.  
They are actively involved with the U.S. Department of Agriculture's
forestry programs and Stewardship Incentive Program, and the Alcona Soil
and Water Conservation District's tree-planting program.
Randy Lanski has been honored as the Michigan Education Tree Farmer of
the Year by the Michigan State Association of Soil and Water
Conservation Districts (SWCD).  He has also been the Alcona County
Conservationist of the Year for the Alcona SWCD, was the 1997 North
Central Region Outstanding Tree Farmer of the Year, and was the national
runner-up for the Outstanding Tree Farmer of the Year Award from the
American Forest Foundation.
Previous NWCA Winners
The Great Lakes-Big Rivers Region has successfully nominated a number of 
partners for this prestigious award.  Previous winners honored from this
Region are:
1997: Fergus Falls Fish and Game Club, Minnesota, Regional Group Winner;
David M. Jacobson, Sauk Centre, Minnesota, Regional Individual Winner;
and Bill Daub, Hudson, Michigan, Regional Individual Runner-up.
1996: Red Lake Nation, Red Lake, Minnesota, National Group Runner-up;
Chuck Bauer, Evansville, Indiana, Regional Individual Winner; and Dr.
Roger Strand, New London, Minnesota, Regional Individual Runner-up.
1995: Wildlife Forever, Minneapolis, National Group Winner; Northern
Indiana Public Service Company Industries (NIPSCO), Hammond, Indiana,
Regional Group Winner; Heartland Gobblers Chapter of the National Wild
Turkey Federation, Poplar Bluff, Missouri, Regional Group Runner-up.
1994: Pheasants Forever, St. Paul, National Group Winner; Wisconsin
Waterfowl Association, Milwaukee, Regional Group Winner.
1993: Minnesota Waterfowl Association, Minneapolis, National Group
Runner-up; Iowa Natural Heritage Foundation, Regional Group Winner.
1992: Waterfowl USA, Northwest Indiana Chapter, Griffith, Indiana,
Regional Group Winner.
1991: Ray McCormick, Vincennes, Indiana, Regional Individual Winner;
Citizens Committee to Save the Cache River, Inc., Perks, Illinois,
Regional Group Winner.
For more information on the National Wetlands Conservation Award program
or the Partners for Fish and Wildlife program, contact Steve Kufrin,
Regional Private Funds Coordinator in the Twin Cities, at 612-713-5447.
For the hearing disabled, call the Minnesota Relay Service at