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Kansan Recognized for Conservation Contributions

2014 Migratory Bird Joint Venture Conservation Champion Announced
The Playa Lakes Joint Venture is proud to announce that Joe Kramer, Director of Fisheries and Wildlife Division for the Kansas Department of Wildlife, Parks and Tourism, is the recipient of the 2014 North American Migratory Bird Joint Venture Conservation Champion Award. This award is given to partners that have demonstrated a long-term commitment and dedication to the important work of the Joint Ventures.
“For his 34 years of contributions to the people and places so vital to the wildlife and wetlands we want to sustain, we are honored to present the Conservation Champion Award for an Individual to Joe Kramer,” says PLJV Coordinator Mike Carter. “Joe has been with us from the beginning, as a founding member of the management board, and is still just as involved today.”
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Joe Kramer, Professional Conservation Champion
Raised in Great BendKansas, Joe Kramer developed a passion for waterfowl at Cheyenne Bottoms. He began his professional career upon completion of his Wildlife Biology degree from Kansas State University in 1976 and was soon employed as a wildlife area technician with the Kansas Department of Wildlife, Parks and Tourism. In just 11 years, Joe rose to Chief of Wildlife and Fisheries Division, where he remains an important leader twenty-seven years later.
Joe recognized early the need for the Migratory Bird Joint Ventures. He also wholeheartedly worked to bring together and sustain the crucial partnerships needed to make Joint Ventures fully functioning conservation implementation vehicles that foster landscape-wide response to habitat needs for birds, especially those that need wetlands. He was a founding board member of the Playa Lakes Joint Venture and was at the first Management Board meeting in 1989, served as chairman from 1991 to 1993, and continues to be active on the board today. He was also a key player in bringing Playa Lakes Joint Venture into the non-profit world, which increased funding opportunities.
Joe has been an exemplary leader outside of Kansas throughout his career and is committed to advancing the science and management of wetlands and waterfowl. He has served on the Central Flyway Council since 1991 and was the Council’s representative to the North American Waterfowl Management Plan Committee for 10 of those years. Joe currently serves on the Kansas NRCS State Technical Committee and Board of Kansas Alliance for Wetlands and Streams.
Joe has also been a leader in fostering wetland conservation partnerships. One shining example is McPherson Valley Wetlands, which now spans 4,500 acres in central Kansas and provides a critical anchor for waterfowl and other migratory birds traversing the continent between their breeding and wintering grounds. This acquisition and restoration project was built on partnerships taking almost 20 years to fully accomplish.