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Tom Meek, Clay Center, wins KWF Water Conservationist Award

Tom Meek, left, from  Clay  Center receives the 2012 Water Conservationist of the Year award from Troy Schroeder, Kansas Wildlife Federation President. The Kansas Chapter of the American Fisheries Society sponsored the Water Conservationist award.

The Kansas Wildlife Federation (KWF) proudly announces winners of the 2012 Conservation Achievement Program Awards (CAP). KWF honored thirteen recipients on February 23rd at a reception and banquet in their honor in  Emporia.

For 49 years, the Federation has recognized Kansans who have devoted exceptional efforts for wildlife conservation in the state. Kansans, who wished to recognize the awardees for their contributions, supplied the nominations. 

The CAP awards are given in several categories including youth, land, water, wildlife, forest, education, farming and ranching. For 2012, 12 awards were given, along with the President’s special award for meritorious service to the KWF.

These are the most prestigious conservation-related awards given in  Kansas and are patterned after similar awards in most other states through respective state affiliates of the National Wildlife Federation. Long-time professor of biology at  Kansas  State  University, Robert Robel of  Manhattan won the overall award, Conservationist of the Year. Dr. Robel passed away last month so his wife, Anise, accepted the award in his place. 

Award sponsors for these awards included Westar, Inc., Kansas State Chapters of the National Wild Turkey Federation, Kansas Chapter of the Wildlife Society, Kansas Chapter of the American Fisheries Society, Geary County Fish and Game Association, the Watershed Institute, the Jim Ruder family of WaKeeney, Kansas Farmers Union and the Emporia Area Chapter of the Quail and Upland Wildlife Federation.

The 2012 Water Conservationist Award was presented to Tom Meek of  Clay  CenterTom is the District Manager for the Clay County Conservation District in  Clay  Center. He administers the conservation district’s Water Resources and  Nonpoint  Source cost share programs. Tom assists the Clay County Natural Resources and Conservation Service (NRCS) staff with federal conservation programs such as the Environmental Quality Improvement Program (EQIP) and the Conservation Reserve Program (CRP).

Tom actively participates in  Milford and Smoky Hill Watershed Restoration and Protection Strategy (WRAPS) groups. He has administered $83,000 in cost share funds approved in  Clay  County for projects in Milford WRAPS targeted areas. Tom assisted with development of the district’s 5-year plan which includes new initiatives that will focus on water quality through nutrient management and flood mitigation.

Tom was instrumental in starting the Clay County Water Festival in 2004, with a grant from the Kansas Association for Conservation and Environmental Education (KACEE). The first Water Festival was a community-wide event associated with the Piotique Fall Festival in  Clay  Center. Water Festivals since then have been for all Clay  County 4th Graders. He has continued the annual 6th Grade Environmental Education Day.

The Kansas Wildlife Federation has relied on Tom to provide presentations on water quality with the district’s stream trailer at our Outdoor Adventure Camp for 10-12 year-old students at  Camp  Washunga. He gives other educational presentations on request throughout  Clay  County. Tom coordinates the Conservation District’s poster contest for elementary students - this year’s theme is “Where Does Your Water Shed?”.

This year Tom serves as Vice-Chair of the Kansas Envirothon Committee. He attended the Canon National Envirothon with the Kansas Team in 2012. Tom has served as a facilitator and/or presenter at many regional Environthons. He has helped with fund-raising for numerous local Envirothon teams and has served as a judge for the scavenger hunt for the  Milford Eco-meet many times.

Tom serves on the Kansas Crossroads Resource Conservation and Development Council (RC&D) and has helped that group coordinate water quality events for agriculture producers.

As a farm operator, Tom has implemented many water quality improvement practices including no-till crop production, filter strips and conservation buffers, and riparian forest improvement. He is conducting an on-farm research project on the use of cover crops for soil and water quality improvement in cooperation with the Kansas State University Extension and NRCS.

The Kansas Chapter of the American Fisheries Society sponsored the Water Conservationist of the Year award.

For all he does for water conservation, Tom Meek is the Kansas Wildlife Federation Water Conservationist of the Year for 2012.


Tom Meek, left, from  Clay  Center receives the 2012 Water Conservationist of the Year award from Troy Schroeder, Kansas Wildlife Federation President. The Kansas Chapter of the American Fisheries Society sponsored the Water Conservationist award.