Secretary of the Interior Ken Salazar presented the 2012 National Wildlife Refuge System Volunteer of the Year Award to David Govatski today at an event in Hartford, Connecticut while also dedicating the Silvio O. Conte National Fish and Wildlife Refuge, and the entire Connecticut River watershed, as the first National Blueway.
“Volunteers are the lifeblood of the Refuge System,” said Evan Hirsche, President of the NWRA. “Volunteers like David do 20% of all the work in the Refuge System and their contribution cannot be recognized enough. We salute David’s lifelong dedication to public service and conservation.”
Govatski has dedicated over 11,000 volunteer-hours at the Silvio O. Conte National Fish and Wildlife Refuge. He is president of the Friends of Pondicherry, a local booster organization for the wildlife refuge. As a certified silviculturist, he is noted for discovering both the largest black spruce and white spruce in New Hampshire, which were found on the wildlife refuge.
The National Wildlife Refuge System Volunteer of the Year Award, sponsored by the National Wildlife Refuge Association and the National Fish and Wildlife Foundation, annually recognizes the outstanding accomplishments of volunteers who support of the operation and management of the Refuge System.
The Thursday morning event also celebrated the Secretary of the Interior’s announcement recognizing the Connecticut River and watershed, and the Silvio O. Conte NF&WR, as the nation’s first National Blueway. Heralded as part of President Obama’s America’s Great Outdoors initiative, the Secretarial Order establishes the National Blueways Initiative and recognizes the Connecticut River and Silvio O. Conte NF&WR as a model of collaborative partnerships for recreation, restoration, conservation and environmental education.
Today’s designation also recognized the collaborative leadership of more than 40 partner organizations under the umbrella of the Friends of the Silvio O. Conte Refuge, of which David Govatski is an active member.
Contact: Desiree Sorenson-Groves, 202-590-5593, email@example.com