Klataske Receives Conservation Award
TOPEKA – Ron Klataske, Executive Director of Audubon of Kansas, was recently honored with the Western Association of Fish and Wildlife Agencies’ (WAFWA) President’s Award in recognition of his long-time commitment to conservation efforts in Kansas, Nebraska and the central Great Plains. Brad Loveless, Secretary of the Kansas Department of Wildlife, Parks and Tourism (KDWPT), acting in his capacity as WAFWA president, presented the award to Klataske at the WAFWA Annual Conference in Manhattan, KS on July 15, 2019.
Klataske has led conservation efforts for 50 years as a representative of the National Audubon Society from 1970 to 1998 and Audubon of Kansas beginning in 1999. Klataske’s portfolio of successful campaigns includes the Tallgrass Prairie National Preserve in the Kansas Flint Hills and the designation of a 76-mile portion of the Niobrara River in Nebraska as a National Scenic River. He was a driving force behind the creation of the Konza Prairie Biological Research Station south of Manhattan, the Tallgrass Prairie in Oklahoma, a trail system using the flood control levees along the Kansas River in Lawrence and the linear trail in Manhattan.
Furthermore, he helped stop proposed dam and diversion projects on Nebraska’s Platte and Niobrara rivers. His efforts preserved the migration stopover locations of the sandhill crane. Every year from late February to early April, hundreds of thousands of sandhill cranes stop along the Platte River on their way northward, creating one of the most majestic migration spectacles in the country. Klataske spearheaded the formation of Nebraska’s crane festival to celebrate this yearly event. The festival will have its 50th anniversary in March 2020 and educates and inspires thousands of visitors each year.
In announcing the award, Loveless noted that Klataske was well-deserving of WAFWA’s President’s Award. “Ron is a great partner to KDWPT, and not because we always agree,” he said. “We sometimes don’t see eye-to-eye, but Ron brings diverse perspectives, visionary ideas and seemingly boundless passion and creativity. We need people like Ron to help us make better decisions. He has created a positive legacy of conservation in the Great Plains and we owe him our gratitude.”
The Western Association of Fish and Wildlife Agencies (WAFWA) has been advancing conservation in western North America since 1922. It represents 24 western states and Canadian provinces. WAFWA is an expert source for information about western wildlife and supports sound resource management and building partnerships at all levels to conserve native wildlife for the use and benefit of all citizens, now and in the future.