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DEP's Division of Fish and Wildlife Receives National Awards

July 27, 2004

The New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection's (DEP) Division of Fish and Wildlife was recently honored with four awards at the 2004 Association for Conservation Information's (ACI) national conference held July 11-15 in New Orleans, Louisiana.

ACI is an international network of professional natural resource conservation communicators from the U.S. and Canada, including representatives from state and federal agencies as well as private organizations. Founded in 1938, it is the oldest and largest association of its kind in the country.

The ACI annual conference provides strong agendas that emphasize message improvement, an exchange of ideas and communication techniques, and the presentation of current environmental and wildlife conservation communication issues. The annual awards program is part of the conference each year and is conducted among members for the purpose of advancing craftsmanship through competition.

The awards included third place in the Education Category for the Black Bear Hunter Education Training Seminar; second place in the Website Category for www.njfishandwildlife.com; second place in the Television Public Service Announcement Category for a 60-second Black Bear Public Service Announcement; and third place in the Regulation Publication Category for the 2003 Hunting Issue of the New Jersey Fish and Wildlife Digest.

The Black Bear Hunter Education Training Seminar was mandatory for hunters who wanted to participate in New Jersey’s first black bear hunting season in 33 years. Using Division of Fish and Wildlife personnel in conjunction with a high quality video production, the seminar covered such important topics as black bear biology, hunting techniques and law enforcement. The seminars were highly successful with enormous positive feedback from attendees and contributed to a successful black bear season with no hunting accidents reported.

The Division’s website and Fish and Wildlife Digest are the primary tools used to inform constituents and the general public about hunting and fishing regulations, Division educational programming and wildlife management programs in New Jersey. The website is an increasingly popular information source for the public and was recently revamped to make it even more user-friendly. Its use has increased every year since its inception and it currently receives nearly 400,000 hits a year. The hunting issue of the Digest has also been revamped for easier use and to include more articles on New Jersey’s wildlife. Approximately 250,000 issues of the hunting edition are produced and distributed annually to license agents, sporting goods stores and through Division offices.

An extensive black bear public education campaign has been conducted by Fish and Wildlife since 1997 as part of its integrated bear management strategy. Public service announcements (psa) have become a mainstay for the Division to get information out to the general public regarding black bears and how to minimize negative interactions with them. The black bear television psa included information on how to bear proof homes and yards to help prevent bears from causing problems, and gave important information to people on how to contact the Division of Fish and Wildlife for more information or to report nuisance or damage problems. The psa was distributed through a media service to cable providers throughout New Jersey.

In addition to the awards, Division of Fish and Wildlife Assistant Director David Chanda was elected President of the Association for Conservation Information at the conference. A certified wildlife biologist with a Masters Degree in Public Administration, he has been working in the field of wildlife education for nearly 25 years. He was promoted to Assistant Director of Operations in 2000 after being Chief of the Bureau of Information and Education. As Assistant Director he is responsible for the Division’s Bureaus of Wildlife Management, Fisheries Management, Law Enforcement and Land Management.

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Department of Environmental Protection
P. O. Box 402
Trenton, NJ 08625-0402

Last Updated: April 1, 2004