Conservation Matters March 2012

The Texas Land, Water and Wildlife Connection

Military Sustainability Program recognized with Extension Superior Service Award

Soldiers on Fort HoodThe Texas A&M Institute of Renewable Natural Resources recently received the Texas AgriLife Extension Service's 2012 Superior Service Award in the team category for its Military Sustainability Program.

Institute members of the team are Brian Hays, AgriLife Extension program specialist; Dr. Roel Lopez, the institute's associate director; and Todd Snelgrove, AgriLife Extension program specialist. Other team members are Bill Ross, natural resources policy consultant with Brooks, Pierce, McLendon, Humphrey and Leonard, LLP, and Justin Tatum, program specialist with the Texas Watershed Management Foundation.

The annual Superior Service Awards recognize AgriLife Extension faculty and staff members who provide outstanding performance in Extension education or in service to the organization.

"Although relatively new, the Military Sustainability Program has accomplished much through the innovation and diligence of each of its team members," said Dr. Neal Wilkins, the institute's director. "Each member has used his expertise to help develop numerous programs that ensure military readiness while also protecting natural resources."

"Military readiness ensures our troops are ready for combat, and is dependent on the  ability for the military to test and train on its land," Lopez said. "Issues such as urban development near installations, loss of wildlife habitat and other natural resource problems facing military installations can limit or prevent the military from using their land to the fullest extent," Lopez said.

"This program supports the military's training mission through improving land management practices, training military natural resource professionals, and developing regional partnerships," Lopez said.

He said it is a collaborative effort of the institute with federal natural resource agencies, state agencies, private landowner groups and the U.S. Department of Defense.

"Keeping our troops well-trained while promoting land conservation and natural resource sustainability requires a collaborative, regional approach," he said.

In the award announcement, Dr. Ed Smith, Texas AgriLife Extension Service director, said the award winners are "demonstrating leadership and commitment in our mission to improve the lives of people, businesses, and communities across Texas and beyond through high quality, relevant education."

Team members will receive framed commendations for their outstanding achievements.

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