• Volunteer earns national conservation award

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  • Katie Peterson | Staff Writer
    John Dubuisson, documents librarian at the Ike Skelton Combined Arms Research Library, was awarded the 2018 National Military Fish and Wildlife Association’s Natural Resources Conservation Management Communication Award for Promoting Public Awareness on Department of Defense Lands during the association’s conference March 28 in Norfolk, Va.
    “This award is intended to recognize those who promote public awareness of the military role in conserving the nation’s natural resource legacy,” said Richard Lance, NMFWA Awards Committee chair. “The Army has proven to be key players in our national efforts to manage and conserve natural resources … People like John Dubuisson not only help us do our critical job but make that job more enjoyable.”
    Dubuisson was nominated for the award by Neil Bass, natural resources specialist with the Fort Leavenworth Department of Public Works.
    “John has been very helpful and instrumental in getting natural resource projects completed and enhanced at no cost to the government,” Bass said.
    Specifically, this included donating 480 volunteer hours toward a four-month creel survey conducted at Smith Lake, Bass said.
    The creel survey was conducted from May to August 2016 and served as an internship for Dubuisson’s online class “Fisheries and Wildlife 410” at Oregon State University toward his bachelor of science degree in fisheries and wildlife sciences. He will finish the degree in September and will continue for a graduate certificate in wildlife management in the fall.
    During the creel survey, Dubuisson surveyed fishing pressure over 428 hours, interviewing 83 anglers. The interviews determined where the fishermen were from, their connection to Fort Leavenworth, what they hoped to catch, what they actually caught, their catch per hour of effort, the size of the catch and the overall satisfaction with post fishing.
    The survey showed the number of channel catfish in the lake to be greater than the amount of fishing being done. Therefore, there is a need for a greater harvesting of catfish verses a catch-and-release, Dubuisson said.
    “The main point was, are people on post using (the lakes),” Dubuisson said. “We really wanted to see the ages of the people who were using it and their status. It was getting that connection.”
    For more information on the Creel Survey, contact Bass at michael.n.bass.civ@mail.mil.
    Other projects Dubuisson has assisted with include a crayfish recolonization survey of Merritt Lake, seining surveys of post streams and flood pools in the Missouri River floodplains, and bird call surveys. He also helped Environmental Division staff collect pallid sturgeon brood stock for pallid sturgeon recovery efforts.
    “John’s willingness to assist with a multitude of natural resource projects — some not even directly related to his personal interest — his follow through on tasks and the finished products he has provided to the natural resource community at Fort Leavenworth made him an exceptional candidate for the award,” Bass said.
    Page 2 of 3 - Lance said the work Dubuisson did on post qualified him for more than one award.
    “We recognized that John had done a tremendous amount of very useful work to assist the natural resources and conservation program on Fort Leavenworth (and) his efforts really overlapped a couple of awards categories,” Lance said. “Neil and NMFWA just wanted to make sure that John understood how much we appreciated his efforts to promote natural resources management and conservation on the installation, which ultimately support and protect the warfighter mission.”
    Dubuisson said he felt that outreach in preserving natural resources is important and that it should begin with children.
    “I think we only conserve and protect what we value and if we don’t value natural resources they won’t be protected. Outreach is something that is often cut in many agencies. If you don’t get the kids to fish and value fishing, they aren’t going to grow up to be anglers,” he said.
    “A lot of it is one-on-one and talking with a kid. Like when Neil goes out with the youth and they go fishing and they catch their first fish. There’s potential there for you to have a future conservationist. … That’s the most important thing to me is an individual level. If you can give someone a positive experience in the outdoors then maybe you can get them to protect the outdoors.”
    Bass said Dubuisson has done a great deal to get children interested, too.
    “The personal attention and help he provided to the kids from the post’s Child and Youth Services’ summer camp program greatly enhanced their fishing field trip,” he said. “Without John’s help, many of these kids would have had a diminished experience. He was able to provide direct adult attention to tasks such as baiting hooks, removing fish, casting and untangling lines.”
    Dubuisson said he was grateful for the award and that he enjoys volunteering on post.
    “One thing I really enjoy about working at Fort Leavenworth is this area has the highest bio-diversity in northeast Kansas because of the post, because of the upland forest and the Weston Bend Bottomlands,” he said. “We’re really lucky because we have some really interesting stuff. We’re right on the border of two of the American flyways — the Mississippi and the central flyway — so right about now you’ve got birds coming in from all over.”
    “I like birds and I like fishes,” Dubuisson said. “The professors say what’s more important than the classes is the time you spend volunteering and working with the professionals.”
    Page 3 of 3 - For more information about the NMFWA and the awards, visit www.nmfwa.org.
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