The Herbert W. Kale, II Award
Nomination statement for Mr. James A. Stevenson , recipient of the Florida Chapter of The Wildlife Society's 2006 Herbert W. Kale, II Award:
Mr. James A. Stevenson earned his Bachelor's degree in zoology from the University of South Florida in 1969. Even while gaining his baccalaureate degree, Mr. Stevenson had already begun his career with the now Department of Environmental Protection (DEP)—serving as Park Ranger at Hillsborough River State Park. After graduation, he began his exemplary rise within the ranks of DEP: Chief Naturalist in 1969; Chief, Bureau of Park Programs in 1982; Chief, Bureau of Historic and Environmental Land Management in 1985; Chief, Bureau of Scientific and Technical Services in 1985; Chief, Resource Management in 1989; Chief, Public Lands Management in 1994; and Florida Springs Coordinator in 1999. Thus, Mr. Stevenson has been the major player in designing the template for the management of natural and cultural resources in Florida's park system, which is the second largest state park system in the United States.
Although Mr. Stevenson 's accomplishments in conserving Florida's land, water, and wildlife resources are too numerous to enumerate, we would be remiss if we did not identify what we believe are really notable contributions. First, and what many of Florida's conservationists probably do n o t fully understand, is that Mr. Stevenson was the first “champion” of summer or lightning season prescribed fire in Florida and the Southeast. He implemented lightning season burning in Florida's state parks in 1982. His illustrated lecture on lightning season fire, which he must have presented hundreds of times throughout the state, was so convincing that one wanted to run out and buy matches before the lecture was finished. Now, lightning season burning is a practiced land management technique. A second and more recent major contribution has been Mr. Stevenson 's leadership in protecting Florida's springs. In a few short years, he has brought the protection of springs to the forefront of conservation needs at both governmental and public levels. And, even though he has retired, he is still continues his DEP role of coordinating working groups for the purpose of protecting the waters flowing into Florida's springs. In 2003, in recognition of his monumental contributions to Florida's natural resources, Governor Bush and the Cabinet dedicated the “ Jim Stevenson Resource Manager of the Year Award , ” and DEP named a spring on the Suwannee River “Stevenson Spring.”
Mr. Stevenson 's contributions in an advisory capacity are also legend. To illustrate, in addition to his DEP responsibilities, he has served on, among others, the Board of Trustees of Tall Timbers Research Station, North Florida Prescribed Fire Council, Florida Land Management Council, Florida Non Game Wildlife Advisory Council, Florida Panther Technical Subcommittee, University of Florida School of Forest Resources and Conservation Advisory Board, and Manatee Habitat Protection Working Group.
The Herbert W. Kale , II Award was created by the Florida Chapter of The Wildlife Society , to recognize individuals for significant contributions to the conservation of Florida's natural resources. Mr. Stevenson is one of those individuals. His accomplishments illustrate what heart, mind, dedication, and diplomacy can achieve in our profession.