Interior Department Honors Vickerman for Oregon Biodiversity Project

(10/30/2000) - Washington, DC – Sara Vickerman, Director of the Defenders of Wildlife west coast office, today received the Department of the Interior’s highest conservation award for her work on a comprehensive survey of Oregon’s ecological regions, and for bringing together a diverse array of business and conservation partners to formulate a statewide biodiversity conservation strategy.

“This award recognizes years of hard, innovative work by Sara and her team on the Oregon Biodiversity Project. It also shows that the Interior Department sees this as an important model for other states to follow," said Rodger Schlickeisen, president of Defenders of Wildlife. “Nationally, we believe that every state should foster partnerships with the private sector and perform a similar biodiversity assessment, because it is the best way to address existing endangered species issues, and to head off new risks to species before they blow up."

“The big-picture approach we’ve taken to natural resource challenges in Oregon enables state and local governments, private land managers, and conservation proponents to make much more strategic investments to protect biodiversity," noted Vickerman. “Most conservation investment right now is random; nobody ever slows down to see whether or not these accumulated acts add up to anything."

In his award letter from the Department of the Interior, J. Michael Scott of the U.S. Geological Survey commended Vickerman, saying “Your work with Oregon’s Biodiversity Project as well as that with the stewardship incentives program for private land owners provides models of how bridges can be built among individuals with differing views on stewardship of this country’s natural resources. You are known nationwide for your ability to work with others in positive ways and provide working solutions for what have often been viewed as intractable problems."

In 1999, Defenders of Wildlife received awards for work on the Oregon Biodiversity Project from the Natural Resources Council of America, and from Renew America.

Defenders of Wildlife is a leading nonprofit conservation organization recognized as one of the nation’s most progressive advocates for wolf recovery. With more than 400,000 members and supporters, Defenders of Wildlife is an effective leader on endangered species issues.



Cat Lazaroff, (202) 772-3270