Wednesday, May 16, 2012
Daniels gets Theodore Roosevelt Award from IWF
INDIANAPOLIS - Gov. Mitch Daniels Tuesday received the Theodore Roosevelt Award from the Indiana Wildlife Federation in recognition of his conservation leadership in the state.
In making the presentation, IWF executive director Barbara Simpson singled out the acquisition of 8,000-acre Goose Pond Fish & Wildlife Area early in Daniels' administration as a project that "kick started" additional conservation programs that followed, including the Healthy Rivers INitiative and the Bicentennial Nature Trust.
"These are tremendous landscape scale initiatives that have staying power," Simpson said.
Daniels, the first governor to receive the IWF's Roosevelt Award, said he particularly appreciated the honor because of its namesake.
"Sometimes they ask you who are your heroes, and TR always makes my list, for more than one reason," he said. "The whole 'wilderness warrior' thing is the big part of it. I really, really appreciate this."
Roosevelt is widely recognized as the "conservation president" for placing more than 230 million acres of land under federal protection through the establishment of 150 national forests, five national parks, and dozens of other public properties.
Daniels added to the record-setting pace of land conservation in Indiana when he announced the Healthy Rivers INitiative almost two years ago. HRI targets the acquisition or conservation protection of nearly 70,000 acres along two river corridors-the Wabash River and the Muscatatuck River. When completed, HRI will increase the wetlands inventory of the Indiana Department of Natural Resources by 64 percent.
Earlier this year, Daniels announced the Bicentennial Nature Trust-a statewide land conservation initiative to celebrate Indiana's upcoming 200th anniversary in much the same way as the first 100 years of statehood were marked in 1916 with establishment of the state park system as a gift to the citizens of Indiana.
"We have such a great chance in the next three to four years of making the Trust into the vehicle we conceived it to be," Daniels said, acknowledging support of the project by the IWF and other conservation groups. "I don't meet a Hoosier, whatever other opinions they have or if they're even apolitical, I don't meet one who doesn't love conservation when you get them to think about it.
"Whether they are avid outdoors people or if they're casual, they love the idea of protecting the best and most unique places we have. If we can just get everybody pointed in this direction, I do believe one person's, one community's contribution will spur the next, spur the next, spur the next, and by the Bicentennial celebration it will be dramatically changed."
Phil Bloom, DNR Communications, (317) 232-4003; cell (317) 502-1683.