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FWS Director Dan Ashe presents award to Connect the Connecticut leadership team

At an annual appreciation ceremony for employees in the Northeast Region, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service staff members who were instrumental in leading the Connect the Connecticut landscape conservation design project received an award for their collective role in fostering a strong partnership.

U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service Director Dan Ashe made a special appearance at the Northeast Regional Office in Hadley, Mass., on June 29th, to present the John S. Gottschalk Partnership Award to Service staff members who were instrumental in leading the Connect the Connecticut landscape conservation design project during an annual employee appreciation ceremony.

The group award was presented to Regional Natural Resource Planner for National Wildlife Refuges Nancy McGarigal, Landbird Biologist Randy Dettmers, Senior Fisheries Biologist David Perkins, Wildlife Biologist John Warner, Forest Ecologist Jeff Horan, and North Atlantic Landscape Conservation Cooperative (LCC) Coordinator Andrew Milliken. Ashe also recognized North Atlantic LCC Science Coordinator Scott Schwenk as an integral part of the leadership team for the LCC-supported project. 

“This project is everything that the Service should be doing and needs to be doing as we cast our eyes to the future," said Ashe, praising the team not just for leading the partnership, but for leading the way with large landscape conservation. 

Developed using the best available science and information from the North Atlantic Landscape Conservation Cooperative (LCC) and an innovative modeling approach from the Designing Sustainable Landscapes Project at the University of Massachusetts Amherst, Connect the Connecticut reflects the needs of key species and habitats in the watershed, as well as shared priorities among more than 30 partners representing all Service programs, three universities, four states, and six non-governmental organizations in the watershed region.

"It's a project that encompasses different perspectives and lots of moving parts, so it could not have been accomplished without effective teamwork and effective leadership," he said, adding, "It took commitment, patience, and good humor."

Named for John Gottschalk, a former regional director in the Northeast who went on to serve as Director of the Fish and Wildlife Service, the John S. Gottschalk Partnership Award was created to recognize creativity and ingenuity in developing and implementing a partnership initiative.

"This effort to 'Connect the Connecticut' is a transformational step for the field of large landscape conservation," said Ashe. "The Fish and Wildlife Service is increasingly known as leading the way in the conservation of large landscapes -- not just in the United Sates, but in the world -- and you are clearly doing that here."

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