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Susquehannock Wildlife Society named Maryland Conservationist of the Year

Nonprofit Recognized for Partnership in Natural Resources Mission

Photo of Susquehannock Wildlife Society members receiving Conservationist of the Year award

Pictured from left to right: Scott McDaniel, Susquehannock Wildlife Society; Luen Compton, chairman of the Maryland Wildlife Advisory Commission; Scott Smith, Maryland Department of Natural Resources ecologist; Paul Peditto, Wildlife and Heritage Service director.

The Maryland Wildlife Advisory Commission recently awarded the Harford County-based Susquehannock Wildlife Society the Maryland Conservationist of the Year award.

The local nonprofit was recognized for accomplishments in conservation, education, research and restoration, and for the group’s partnership with the Maryland Department of Natural Resources and others in preserving and protecting Maryland’s wildlife.

Since its inception in 2011, the Susquehannock Wildlife Society has extensively supported wildlife conservation and outdoor education. The organization has participated in projects such as the Maryland Amphibian and Reptile Atlas, conducted research on eastern hellbenders and spotted turtles and provided many educational programs to the citizens of Harford County and neighboring areas. The organization works to spread messages about conserving Maryland wildlife through a variety of social media campaigns, engaging photos, videos and infographics.

“This is a group of highly motivated people whose commitment to wildlife conservation has taken them to a new of level of service in their community,” Wildlife and Heritage Service Director Paul Peditto said.

The organization is working to expand their impact by establishing a first-of-its-kind center for wildlife education and research in the Harford County region. The group installed numerous habitat improvements to benefit unique species like the Baltimore checkerspot and has raised funds to build a stargazing platform, an outdoor amphitheater, and a barn classroom and campfire area for outdoor education. The group also is raising funds to convert a former private residence into an educational facility with museum-grade exhibits featuring live ambassadors of rare, unique and often misunderstood species found in the region. The space will also include a research lab, an additional classroom and holding areas for both their wildlife ambassadors and future native species restoration projects.

This small team of dedicated board members and volunteers has accomplished the work of a much larger organization by leveraging partnerships with many groups including the Harford County government, Maryland Department of Natural Resources, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, nonprofit partners, local businesses and members of the community.

“Through their continual contributions to scientific research on rare and declining species and their passion for teaching about wildlife, the Susquehannock Wildlife Society is a truly modern conservation organization worthy of recognition as Maryland Conservationist of the Year,” Peditto said.

The Wildlife Advisory Commission was created by legislation to advise the department on wildlife matters.