State Wildlife Officials Present Sargent Conservation Award to Former Environmental Affairs Secretary Bob Durand
Presented by the Massachusetts Fisheries and Wildlife Board, the Sargent award is named in honor of the former governor and noted conservationist who served as Director of the Massachusetts Division of Fisheries and Wildlife (DFW) in 1963 and 1964. Durand is the ninth recipient of the award, established in 2000.
"Bob Durand has been a leader in the conservation movement in Massachusetts for more than 25 years, and he continues to work passionately to protect our natural resources and preserve the sporting heritage here in the Commonwealth," said Lieutenant Governor Timothy Murray.
From 1990 to 1998, Durand as a state senator authored the landmark Rivers Protection Act of 1996, which protected Massachusetts waterways and critical habitats by limiting development. He sponsored the Brownfields Act of 1998, which focuses on the redevelopment and remediation of contaminated industrial and commercial sites, and spearheaded the Community Preservation Act - signed into law in 2000 during his tenure as Environmental Affairs Secretary - as a tool for cities and towns to conserve open space, preserve historic areas, and create low to moderate income housing.
Serving as Secretary of Environmental Affairs from 1999 through 2002, Durand oversaw the conservation of 150,000 acres of land in partnership with land trusts, foundations, private landowners, and local and federal governments.
"Bob Durand's legacy as Secretary of Environmental Affairs includes impressive accomplishments regarding open space protection, biodiversity protection, environmental education, and action on global climate change," said Secretary of Energy and Environmental Affairs Richard K. Sullivan Jr. "He is a true friend of the environment and the Sargent award is a fitting honor for his commitment, passion, and public service."
Durand established Biodiversity Days, a first-in-the-nation enterprise, which engaged 50,000 volunteers and 500 schools throughout the Commonwealth in a three-day Bio-Blitz of Massachusetts and led to the development of DFW's BioMaps, a program which identifies the most ecologically sensitive habitats in the Commonwealth.
In addition to collaborating with New England governors and Eastern Canadian officials on global climate change action, Durand assisted in establishing the toughest power plant regulations in the United States - for the first time setting benchmarks for reductions in carbon dioxide, nitrogen oxide, sulfur dioxide and mercury.
"I have had the honor and the pleasure to know and work closely with Bob Durand for many years," said Department of Fish and Game Commissioner Mary Griffin. "Most everyone who ever worked with Bob speaks of his great enthusiasm and his ability to build coalitions of diverse interests to accomplish great things for the environment."
Durand received the award, a hand-carved wooden loon decoy created by Geoff Walker of Hank Walker Decoys of Newbury, at a ceremony held at the Division of Fisheries & Wildlife (MassWildlife) field headquarters in Westborough today.
"It gives me great pleasure and satisfaction to present this award to Bob Durand, a true conservationist and sportsman," said George Darey, Chairman of the Fisheries and Wildlife Board. "Bob's outstanding record of environmental accomplishments and his passion for the outdoors is an inspiration to many people. His efforts to protect land and water have benefitted both the wildlife of Massachusetts and the people who enjoy the great outdoors."
"Bob Durand is most deserving of the recognition he is receiving today," said Wayne MacCallum, director of MassWildlife. "His efforts on the behalf on wildlife conservation and the environment will assure that future generations will be able to experience outdoor activities such as fishing, hunting, and wildlife viewing that we take for granted today."
An avid hunter of white-tailed deer, ruffed grouse and wild turkey, Durand has traveled through much of the United States pursuing his passion for hunting and fly fishing. Here in Massachusetts, both as a legislator and Environmental Affairs Secretary, he has worked on a number of initiatives that support the state's sportsmen and sportswomen.
"Frank Sargent was a visionary leader who knew that natural resource protection is the very foundation of our quality of life," Durand said. "I'm extremely honored to be standing here with all of you today as a recipient of this award."
Durand is president of Durand and Anastas Environmental Strategies, Inc., a firm specializing in strategic planning and public and government relations for clients whose projects are subject to environmental review. He also serves as president of the Massachusetts Outdoor Heritage Foundation, a non-profit organization created by sportsmen, sportswomen, and conservationists to promote and preserve the rich outdoor heritage of the Commonwealth. The foundation's mission is to provide financial support for the preservation, enhancement, and sustainability of land and water resources, fish and wildlife habitat, and biodiversity in Massachusetts; to protect the natural integrity of these resources for the benefit of the public and future generations; and to support professional, scientific, non-political strategies that contribute to the conservation of our natural resources.
Click here for more information on the Sargent award information and past recipients.