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Pioneer Conservationist Dr. Mamie Parker to Present at FSU

February 23rd, 2024 by WCBC Radio

Frostburg State University’s departments of Biology, Educational Professions and Recreation and Parks Management will host a presentation by Dr. Mamie Parker, titled “A Black Woman’s Journey: Breaking Concrete Blocks to Help Save Our Planet to Save Ourselves,” on Monday, March 11, from 7 to 9 p.m. in room 208 of the Education and Health Sciences Center. Parker is the former Student Conservation Association chair and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (FWS) head of Fisheries and Habitat Conservation. This event is free and open to the public.

Parker’s nearly three-decade-long career as a fish and wildlife biologist with FWS took her to various locations across the country. Her exceptional leadership within the agency earned her the prestigious Ira Gabrielson Award FWS Leadership Award and the distinction of being the first Black FWS regional director and member of the Senior Executive Service in FWS.

She is on the board of directors of the National Wildlife Federation, Chesapeake Bay Foundation, Duke University Nicholas School of the Environment, The Nature Conservancy – Virginia Chapter, American University School of Public Affairs, Ducks Unlimited and the Student Conservation Association.

Her impact extended beyond agency walls as she spearheaded crucial initiatives such as negotiating with General Electric Corporation for environmental cleanup efforts, the largest cleanup in the history of this country. Parker’s work has resulted in her receiving the William P. Reilly Environmental Leadership Award and the Presidential Rank Award, the highest honor bestowed on the top 1 percent of federal employees.

Parker’s influence reaches across continents, from her work in Lesotho and Southern Africa as an Aspen Institute Fellow to her advocacy for climate change action at the World Fisheries Congress in China. Forbes Magazine invited her to join other legendary icons at the 30/50 Women’s Forum in Abu Dhabi, honoring her work. She is one of the authors of “The Future of Fisheries: Perspectives for Emerging Professionals,” published by the American Fisheries Society on mentoring. In addition, she joined other women wildlife professionals in writing the Wildlife Society’s “Women in Wildlife Science: Building Equity, Diversity and Inclusion,” the first book to address the challenges and opportunities for women, mainly from underrepresented communities, in wildlife professions.

In her home state of Arkansas, Parker’s achievements have been immortalized in the University of Arkansas at Pine Bluff. The governor enshrined her into the Arkansas Outdoor Hall of Fame, where she stands as the first native Arkansan to lead the nation’s fisheries. Several years after Gov. McAuliffe appointed her as a commissioner, she was elected chair of the Virginia Department of Wildlife Resources. She also received the Association of Fish and Wildlife Agencies’ John L. Morris Lifetime Achievement Award. Throughout her career she has worked to advance diversity and opportunities for minority students in conservation and fisheries careers; in 2016 she was awarded the Emmeline Moore Prize from the American Fisheries Society for these efforts.

A dedicated member and Basileus of the Year of the Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, Inc., and The Links, Incorporated, Parker is deeply committed to mentoring future leaders in STEM fields. STEM teaching majors, in particular, can benefit from Parker’s insights as they seek to shape the minds and lives of all students, encouraging underrepresented youth to pursue their dreams as STEM majors. Her story will inspire FSU students, the community and the generations of students our teaching majors will influence.