Prattan Joseph Kramer, retired Kansas Department of Wildlife, Parks & Tourism (KDWPT) employee, has been recognized by seven professional Kansas natural resource societies as the winner of the 2019 Kansas Conservation Champion Award.
“The award honors outstanding long-term dedication, innovation, and leadership for the conservation, protection, enhancement and stewardship of Kansas’ natural heritage and resources,” said Kansas Alliance for Wetlands and Streams Executive Director Jessica Mounts.
Kramer received the award at the Kansas Natural Resource Conference in Manhattan on February 1 which he attended with his wife Sandy and their son Lucas, who is a KDWPT wildlife biologist in North Central Kansas.
Mounts said the prestigious award recognizes 38 years of contributions Kramer made while serving in a variety of positions before his retirement from KDWPT in 2015.
During his 35 years with the KDWPT, Kramer served as Chief of the Wildlife and Fisheries Division for 26 years, working with federal agencies through numerous farm bills and conservation programs and recruiting and hiring many of the KDWPT employees still serving today, according to KDWPT Chief Information Officer Mike Miller.
“Joe made a huge impact as director as he administered a lot of key programs and he still has a lot of friends at KDWPT in Pratt and throughout the state,” Miller said. “The award to him was well deserved.”
After his retirement from KDWPT Kramer continued his interest in his chosen field as he began working as a wetland coordinator for the Kansas Alliance for Wetlands and Streams (KAWS) and for Ducks Unlimited (DU) as a special projects manager.
“Kramer’s tremendous network of partners from his KDWPT career expanded and strengthened stakeholders’ relationships in western Kansas,” Mounts said.
Mounts credited Kramer’s efforts which she said facilitated record-breaking Wetlands Reserve Easement (WRE) signups, enhanced the playa wetland CRP SAFE program, and expanded KDWPT’s Walk-In Hunting Access (WIHA).
“Outside of playas, Joe has helped the state make tremendous strides in private and public land conservation,” Mounts said. “His passion for Kansas wetlands and wildlife is truly evident and contagious to those that work with him.”
Kramer hails from Great Bend where he attended high school before studying Wildlife Biology at Kansas State University, Manhattan.
The agencies involved in sponsoring the award, for which Kramer was the fourth recipient, are Kansas Alliance for Wetlands and Streams, Kansas Association of Conservation Districts, Kansas Grazing Lands Coalition, Kansas Section of the Society for Range Management, Great Plains Society of American Foresters and the Kansas Chapters of The Wildlife Society, American Fisheries Society and Soil and Water Conservation Society.
Additional information about the award and the Kansas Natural Resource Conference may be found at http://www.kansasnrc.org.