Christine Thomas, dean of the College of Natural Resources at the University of Wisconsin-Stevens Point, will be inducted into the Wisconsin Conservation Hall of Fame this spring. She is one of three conservation leaders selected for induction on Earth Day, April 22, honoring the state's conservation legacy.
Thomas has been a leader at the state and national level, inspiring men and women studying and working in the conservation profession. She has served as dean since 2005 and been a professor of resource management in the College of Natural Resources since 1980.
The Conservation Hall of Fame Foundation recognized her for promoting "conservation in Wisconsin and the nation through her contributions to higher education, research, natural resource policy, and the advancement of citizen participation in Wisconsin's rich conservation heritage."
Thomas said she was grateful to the Hall of Fame and those who nominated and supported her nomination. "However, I am really just one spark in the fire that has been, is, and hopefully always will be, Wisconsin conservation. I hope I can continue to do my small part to keep the flame alive," she said.
Throughout her career, Thomas has focused on the importance of access to well managed public lands. A member of the Wisconsin Natural Resources Board for 11 years, she advanced environmental and natural resource policy affecting outdoor recreation, water and habitat protection and the management of Wisconsin's wildlife, forests and parks.
She founded the Becoming an Outdoors Woman (BOW) program at UW-Stevens Point in 1991. This educational outreach program has been offered in more than 40 states, inspiring women to learn outdoor skills and be more involved in outdoor activities and conservation efforts.
Thomas has served on boards of several national conservation organizations and governmental agencies, including the Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation and the U.S. Interior and Agriculture Departments' Wildlife and Hunting Heritage Conservation Council. She currently serves on the Ducks Unlimited Board and is deputy chair of the Boone and Crockett Club's conservation committee.
She has received numerous awards from state and national conservation organizations. Thomas was named one of the 20 most influential conservationists in Wisconsin in the 20th century by the Wisconsin Outdoor Journal in 1999.
"UW-Stevens Point has long been proud of the many contributions Christine Thomas has made to conservation, both in Wisconsin and in the national dialogue," said Greg Summers, provost and vice chancellor of academic affairs. "Her willingness to put her expertise to work for the greater good is what public scholarship is all about, and in that way she embodies the Wisconsin Idea. We're thrilled to see her efforts recognized."
The induction ceremony will be held at 10 a.m. Saturday, April 22, at Sentry Theater in Stevens Point. A coffee reception will be held at 9 a.m., followed by a luncheon at 12:30 p.m. Reservations for lunch ($25 per person) may be made online at http://bit.ly/WCHF2017 or by calling Schmeeckle Reserve at 715-346-4992.
Also being inducted into the Conservation Hall of Fame this spring are Hugh Iltis, who taught in the UW-Madison Botany Department, served as UW Herbarium director and co-founded The Nature Conservancy in Wisconsin; and Milly Zantow, a citizen activist from North Freedom, who helped launch the recycling movement in Wisconsin and the nation.
Wisconsin Conservation Hall of Fame has recognized 88 conservation leaders since it was established in 1985, including Dan Trainor, the first College of Natural Resources dean. The Hall of Fame is a cooperative venture of 23 statewide conservation organizations. Plaques are on display at Schmeeckle Reserve Visitor Center, Stevens Point.