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DNR Conservation Biologist Receives National Lifetime Achievement Award

Conservation Biologist Thomas Meyer Recognized With George B. Fell Lifetime Achievement Award

Thomas Meyer standing on a rock overlook, holding binoculars and looking into the distance. Thomas Meyer spots an eagle nest atop an overlook at Ferry Bluff State Natural Area. Photo credit: Wisconsin DNR

MADISON, Wis. – The Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources (DNR) is pleased to announce that Conservation Biologist Thomas Meyer was awarded the national George B. Fell Lifetime Achievement Award from the Natural Areas Association (NAA) for his career-long efforts to build and advocate for Wisconsin's State Natural Areas (SNA) program.

This award is given to an individual who exhibits the highest qualities of the profession and who has significantly advanced natural area identification, protection, stewardship or research and the mission of the Natural Areas Association. This award is the association's highest and is reserved for exceptional achievements in any of the areas in which the Natural Areas Association is concerned. With 37 years dedicated to protecting and enhancing Wisconsin's natural heritage, Thomas Meyer is an exemplary recipient of this prestigious recognition.

"Although I'm proud of the natural areas I've helped protect, my greatest professional joy and satisfaction has been sharing the wonder of these places with others," said Meyer. "Though we may stand on the shoulders of those who came before us, I think we do so for those who come after us."

Meyer has been praised by colleagues as the unsung heart of the State Natural Areas program throughout his long career, quietly leading many of the critical components of the program. He has been instrumental in developing the Wisconsin State Natural Areas program into what it is today. 

In his efforts to advocate for state natural areas, Meyer also served as a subject matter expert for PBS Wisconsin's 2021 documentary, Wisconsin's Scenic Treasures: Southern Vistas, featuring a visually stunning trip through 12 state natural areas.

Wisconsin’s State Natural Areas program celebrates 71 years in 2022, making it the nation's oldest (and largest) statewide system of natural areas. Learn more about Wisconsin's state natural areas and how to join Meyer and others in ensuring they're around for generations to come.