The Nebraska Wildlife Federation announced the winners of the Federation’s 2016 Wildlife Conservation Awards, who will be honored at a banquet on Thursday, October 13, near Ashland. The honorees include:
Glenn Johnson, recently retired manager of the Lower Platte South Natural Resources District (NRD), will be honored with a Lifetime Achievement Award. Johnson worked for the NRD for 44 years, and he leaves behind a strong commitment to conservation of water, wildlife, soil and other resources.
Under his leadership, the Lower Platte South NRD accepted the State’s first conservation easement, which protects the forest and prairie at Prairie Pines near Lincoln. The NRD later used conservation easements to protect prairie and wetlands, including rare saline wetlands that are home to the endangered Salt Creek Tiger Beetle.
Johnson worked to develop the MoPac Trail and other recreational trails. The NRD was also the first to embark on a voluntary Integrated Management Plan to protect the NRD’s water resources.
State Senator Heath Mello, who represents South Omaha in the Legislature. Senator Mello will receive the Federation’s Conservation Policy Award for his work in to pass clean energy legislation, and to provide funding for wildlife agencies and programs.
Senator Mello is completing his eighth year of service in the Nebraska Legislature, and cannot run for re-election due to term limits. This year, Senator Mello sponsored successful legislation to allow cities to provide financing for energy efficiency and renewable energy improvements for homes and businesses.
Kat and Dustin Scholl established K&D Honey Bees in Lincoln in 2010. Their small business is built around many uses for the honey their bees produce from hives in Seward County. Kat and Dustin are also tireless communicators about bees and other pollinators, spreading the word about the importance of honey bees, native bees, butterflies and other pollinators and the habitat they need.
Kat and Dustin regularly provide presentations at community events and other activities throughout the area. Their willingness to share their knowledge and passion for bees and other pollinators earned them the Federation’s 2016 Wildlife Communicators award.
Roger Belohlavy has been a volunteer at Crete Public Schools for more than 30 years. A local businessman, Belohlavy encourages students to collect aluminum cans. He recycles the cans, and the funds are used to purchase trees for planting each Arbor Day.
The Crete Public School Arboretum now boasts about 400 trees, and was recognized as the first public school arboretum in Nebraska. The Federation is honoring Belohlavy with its 2016 Community Conservation Award.
The Hutton Niobrara Ranch Wildlife Sanctuary near Bassett will receive the Federation’s 2016 Wildlife Organization award. Owned and managed by Audubon of Kansas, the Hutton Ranch is a 5,000 acre sanctuary devoted to wildlife.
Audubon of Kansas has restored native prairie, and put in place sustainable grazing systems that improve wildlife habitat. Wildlife-friendly fencing and watering facilities are some of the features of the ranch. Nestled along the banks of the Niobrara River, the Hutton Ranch combines eco-tourism with a strong commitment to wildlife conservation.
The Federation’s Wildlife Awards Banquet is Thursday, October 13 at Parker’s Smokehouse near Ashland. The event is open to the public. Advance reservations are required and tickets cost $45 each or two for $80. Contact the Federation office in Lincoln for tickets or more information, at (402) 477-1008, or Info@NebraskaWildlife.org.