Yesterday, President Obama signed into law a bill officially designating Noxubee National Wildlife Refuge as the Sam D. Hamilton Noxubee National Wildlife Refuge.
Sam Hamilton passed away February 2010 while serving as Director of the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service. He spent over 30 years working within the Service and was a champion of landscape level conservation.
The 48,000-acre Noxubee National Wildlife Refuge is located in central Mississippi and is a wetland stopover for migratory birds.
“Sam was a bright light in the world of wildlife conservation” said NWRA President Evan Hirsche. “He was a pioneer in innovative strategies to protect and restore wildlife habitat; as Director of FWS, he worked tirelessly to implement a larger, landscape-level wildlife conservation vision for the nation. With his passing, the conservation community suffered a great loss.”
A Mississippi native, Hamilton began his career on working on wildlife refuges as a Youth Conservation Corps volunteer. Throughout his career Hamilton held many positions within the FWS including Director of the FWS Southeast Region, where he had authority over 128 wildlife refuges throughout the southeastern United States, and had been instrumental in restoring vital habitat in the Everglades. He also served as the agency’s state administrator in Texas, where he oversaw implementation of the Endangered Species Act. He was a Mississippi native and graduate of Mississippi State University.
“Sam got his start building fences on national wildlife refuges and rose to the highest level in the Fish and Wildlife Service leadership. Throughout his remarkable career he never forgot his love for national wildlife refuges,” said Hirsche.