PARC 2015 Haskell Award Winner-John Jensen

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PARC is proud to announce the 2015 recipient of the Alison Haskell Award is John Jensen.

John’s peers describe him as “productive and encouraging,” and “an ardent conservationist.” He has played a key role in conservation efforts involving diverse players ranging from the private sector (including corporations as big and influential as Georgia Power), state and federal government, conservation organizations such as The Orianne Society, citizens, and researchers. He was the lead Editor of the book, Amphibians and Reptiles of Georgia, which was completed with the involvement of dozens of authors and photographers, and with funding from multiple sources.

Most notably, John has directly contributed to the conservation of imperiled amphibians and reptiles. He has been at the center of the Indigo Snake repatriation project in Alabama, expediting collection and transport of Georgia snakes for the captive breeding program. This has directly resulted in the successful repatriation of this federally threatened species in Alabama. John was the nexus between partners at Auburn University, Project Orianne, Zoo Atlanta, and state and federal governments, and it is unlikely that this project would have succeeded without his influence. Similarly, a project involving players from Zoo Atlanta, The Atlanta Botanical Gardens, and the University of Georgia successfully reintroduced Gopher Frogs from captive-reared donor populations to sites with suitable habitat within Georgia. This effort was an attempt to boost numbers of this rare frog and preclude its need for listing as an endangered species.

Another major accomplishment that John led was in gaining protection for Georgia’s freshwater turtles. This effort required keen political skills and an unprecedented publicity campaign. Through his influence as the Georgia state herpetologist, John was able to move a piece of legislation through the conservative state government to finally protect aquatic turtles.

Finally, through his efforts and partnerships, John was able to facilitate the conversion of two rattlesnake roundups to wildlife festivals despite reluctant event organizers. John was able to allay their concerns, and he was able to convince them to convert the Fitzgerald roundup and the Claxton roundup (once the state’s largest) into a festivals that focus on education and wildlife appreciation. Neither event now harms snakes nor relies on wild-caught individuals.

John’s efforts and achievements have touched and influenced many people along the way, significantly improving the herpetofaunal conservation landscape in Georgia in the process. PARC thanks John for all of his dedication and commitment, and his embodiment of an unsung hero!
 
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