Longtime Kansas conservationist wins award

John Strickler, professor emeritus of the Kansas Forest Service, Kansas State University, has been recognized by seven professional Kansas natural resource societies as the winner of the 2018 Kansas Conservation Champion award.

The award honors outstanding long-term dedication, innovation and leadership for the conservation, protection, enhancement and stewardship of Kansas’ natural heritage and resources. Strickler will receive the award at the Kansas Natural Resource Conference luncheon in Manhattan.

The award recognizes 56 years of contributions Strickler has made to Kansas while serving in leadership positions. During his 35 years with the Kansas Forest Service at Kansas State University, he served as associate state forester and as acting state forester.

From 1987 to 1989, he served as special assistant for environment and natural resources to Gov. Mike Hayden. During that time, he worked with Hayden to develop an executive order that created the cabinet-level Kansas Department of Wildlife and Parks. Strickler then served as acting secretary of wildlife and parks while leading a national search for a permanent secretary. He also served in that role for Gov. Bill Graves while again leading a search for a permanent secretary.

Strickler was a founding trustee of the Kansas Chapter of The Nature Conservancy, established in 1989. He continues to serve on that board.

During his time with Gov. Hayden, Strickler worked as a liaison with the Kansas legislature to establish the first funding for the Kansas Water Plan. Over the years, he has provided leadership addressing Kansas water issues with an emphasis on the important role of riparian forests and wetlands in protecting water quality.

Strickler is most recognized for his dedication and contributions to environmental education and his long-time leadership in the Kansas Association of Conservation and Environmental Education. KACEE is a private non-profit recognized nationally for its effective environmental education and outreach programs. In 1999, Gov. Graves announced establishment of the John K. Strickler Award for Environmental Education to be awarded annually by KACEE.

At 82, Strickler continues to provide leadership as chair of the Kansas Forest Service Advisory Council and board member of the Kansas Alliance for Wetlands and Streams.

Additional information about the award and the Kansas Natural Resource Conference may be found at www.KansasNRC.org or by calling 785-532-3300.