2003 Conservation Award Winners

Steve Williams and Rolling Sparrowe were this year's winners.

Believer in Science-Based Conservation
In a Washington boardroom filled with representatives of all the major hunting and fishing conservation organizations, Steve Williams was first to sign a cooperative agreement engineered by the Congressional Sportsmen’s Foundation to open public lands to sportsmen. It wasn’t an epic moment, just another chapter in his sportsmen-friendly administration as the director of the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service.

After starting the job in January 2002, Williams opened 11 refuges in our National Wildlife Refuge System to hunting, fishing or both. Williams has curtailed the flow of lawsuits from environmentalists on endangered species and advocates delisting wolves, so states (read hunters) can manage wolf numbers. In short, he has brought sound management to our nation’s wildlife resources and earned the OL Conservation Award for the public sector in the process.

** Waterfowl Advocate**
Rollin Sparrowe’s 35 years working on behalf of birds began with a baptism of fire at the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service. “When I started in the seventies, duck numbers were at their lowest levels,” says the winner of OL’s Conservation Award in the private sector. So he developed the largest hunting program in the world: the North American Waterfowl Management Plan. After 22 years with the USFWS, where he worked on many benchmark programs-the Wetlands Conservation Act and Partners in Flight, among others-Sparrowe became president of the Washington, D.C.-based Wildlife Management Institute. Under his guidance, the WMI has given new stature to wildlife professionals by translating science into policy.