Matt Smith, Wilson, wins KWF Wildlife Conservationist Award
The Kansas Wildlife Federation proudly announces winners of the 2012 Conservation Achievement Program Awards. KWF honored 13 recipients on Feb. 23at a reception and banquet in their honor in Emporia.
The 2012 Wildlife Conservationist Award was presented to Matt Smith of Wilson. Wilson has had a long and successful career with the Kansas Department of Wildlife, Parks, and Tourism. He started as a district wildlife biologist in the southwest area, and then moved to a similar position in the NW at Wilson. He took on the additional responsibility as a Natural Resources and Conservation Service Area Biologist.
After the retirement of the full-time farm bill coordinator, Smith assumed those duties as well for a period of time. A couple years ago he was relieved of the Natural Resources Conservation Service duties and many of his district duties so he could focus on farm bill issues. With most all Kansas land in agriculture production and management of this land highly influenced by the federal farm bill, this activity is very important to the welfare of Kansas wildlife populations and their habitat.
In the farm bill position Smith has excelled at coordination among various United States Department of Agriculture agencies, non-governmental groups like Pheasants Forever and KDWPT. He has been active in working with national committees and working groups, like the Midwest Association of Wildlife Agencies, to influence the development of the conservation title of the farm bill in Congress. These groups have been very successful with programs such as the Conservation Reserve Program. At its high, over 3 million acres of land was planted to CRP grasses in Kansas.
Smith has always been willing to step up and do additional duties that may not have been his primary responsibility, often working in more than one capacity. An example of this occurred recently when Smith took the lead in the acquisition of the 160-acre Gurley Wetland in Lincoln County for KDWPT, overcoming several hurdles typical for these projects. Generations of hunters and wildlife enthusiasts to come will enjoy this marsh due to Smith's dedicated work. Because of his positive contact with Smith, Gurley has made additional contributions to promote youth hunting.
In addition to his official duties, Smith has worked with several professional organizations. Having served in several lower positions, he currently is the president of the Kansas Chapter of The Wildlife Society. Smith has been instrumental in coordinating the Kansas Natural Resource Conference, serving on the Steering Committee the last three years and as the Program Committee Chair the last two years.
The Kansas Chapter of The Wildlife Sociaty sponsored the Wildlife Conservationist of the Year award.
Matt Smith has provided dedicated service to KDWPT and the sportsmen and sportswomen of Kansas in a professional way. The Kansas Wildlife Federation is proud to present the Wildlife Conservationist of the Year award for 2012 to Matt Smith.