The College of Forest Resources at Mississippi State University has been designated the 2014 Conservationist of the Year by the Mississippi Wildlife Federation. The award was sponsored by Chevron.
MSU President Mark E. Keenum was on hand to accept the award at the 55th Mississippi Conservation Achievement Awards Luncheon hosted by the MWF on April 15 at the Hilton in Jackson.
"We are very proud that the College of Forest Resources, in partnership with the Mississippi Wildlife Federation and others around the state, has had and continues to have a profound impact in conserving and sustaining our natural resources," Keenum said. "The college is doing a superb job of preparing the next generation of conservation leaders."
MWF's Conservation Achievement Awards are among the most prestigious for conservation efforts. They are presented annually on behalf of MWF's members and supporters and its statewide network of affiliated organizations.
Serving as the only nationally accredited four-year natural resources degree program in the state, the College of Forest Resources has graduated more than 4,000 students in its 60 year history.
The college's mission is to promote the professional and intellectual development of its students; expand the fundamental knowledge upon which the natural resource disciplines are based and assist with development and utilization of the state's natural resources through education, research and service.
Research has always been an integral component of the CFR mission and works hand in hand with the classroom component of a student's education. The college manages over 28,000 acres in the university's Bulldog Forest. These properties serve as research and teaching laboratories for scientists and students and demonstration areas for landowners.
Research within the college is through the university's Forest and Wildlife Research Center, or FWRC. The FWRC is the research arm for the Mississippi Department of Wildlife, Fisheries and Parks and the Mississippi Forestry Commission. FWRC research has led to groundbreaking advances in how natural resources are managed and sustained for future generations in Mississippi and throughout the world.
"This honor recognizes the excellence of the faculty, staff, students and alumni who have been a part of the College of Forest Resources' over our 60 year history," said George Hopper, dean of the College of Forest Resources. "The college is proud to accept this award for all of the hard work these individuals do each day to promote conservation of our natural resources in the state, nation and world."
In addition to the college's accolade, honors went to a Mississippi State University faculty member, staff member and a student during the annual banquet.
Bronson Strickland, associate extension professor in wildlife ecology and management in the Forest and Wildlife Research Center and MSU Extension Service, received the Conservation Educator of the Year Award. Strickland, who also is an alumnus of the university, was honored for his work in wildlife management including over 42 workshops he has directed over the last two years.
Lanette Crocker, county coordinator and extension agent in Wayne County received the Hunter Education Volunteer Instructor of the Year award. Crocker certifies over 200 youth in hunter education each year in the southern Mississippi County.
Teresa Hill, a senior Wildlife, Fisheries and Aquaculture major, received the Mississippi Wildlife Federation scholarship. A native of Flowood, Hill conducted research on bluebird productivity and nest box directionality relative to the sun. Hill constructed and placed 20 nest boxes throughout campus and recorded activity several times each week. Hill will graduate in May and plans to attend graduate school.