Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Former AZGFD staffer wins eco fellowship for birds

Restored habitat on the Salt River as part of the Rio Salado project.

PHOENIX -- An Arizona woman who formerly worked with the AZ Game and Fish Department is the recipient of a new national fellowship designed to advance the work of individuals with outstanding potential to help shape a brighter environmental future.

Vashti "Tice" Supplee is one of only 40 people selected from competitors nationwide for the TogetherGreen Conservation Leadership Program.

Fellows receive specialized training in conservation planning and execution, the chance to work and share best practices with gifted conservation professionals, and assistance with project outreach and evaluation. Each Fellow will also receive $10,000 towards a community-focused project to engage local residents in conserving land, water and energy, and contributing to greater environmental health. Supplee will focus her efforts on establishing a Center for Bird Conservation at the new Rio Salado Nature Center near downtown Phoenix.

In partnership with Phoenix College, South Mountain Community College and Mesa Community College, students will develop maps of key bird habitat around the state and identify areas where birds are most threatened. Building off of the data they have collected, students will create action plans to protect birds and their habitat, working with Audubon chapters around the state to implement them. The students will come away with important technological skills, a stronger understanding of conservation and the most pressing threats to Arizona's wildlife, and the knowledge that they can have a big impact on conservation efforts – encouraging them to get involved in the future. The efforts of the Fellows will aid people and wildlife around 39 cities in 24 different states.

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