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August 21, 2003


The New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection's (DEP) Division of Fish and Wildlife was recently honored with five awards at the 2002 Association for Conservation Information's (ACI) national conference held July 25-30 in Cody, Wyoming.

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.

"It is impressive that New Jersey can successfully compete on the same level as much larger and better-funded state programs, especially from the West and Mid-West," said Division Director Martin J. McHugh.

The awards included a first place in the Education Category for the Divisionís Hunter Education Home Study Program. This pioneering program, which is now a national model, is a great endorsement of an innovative delivery system that makes hunter education more accessible to today's student while still offering a quality learning experience.

The recent video production, "Common Bond" received a second place award in the Video Category, but could not have been closer to winning first. The winning entry from Idaho scored 571 points and the Divisionís video scored 570 points. This video, which focuses on four staff members and their personal commitment to natural resource conservation continues the long tradition of award-winning videos produced in partnership with New Jersey Network.

The video for the Hunter Education Home Study Program was also submitted in the Video Category and captured a third place award. This award is significant considering this educational video had to compete with many flashier information and entertainment-type natural resource videos.

The Division was also awarded third place in a new category this year, "Big Ideas - Small Budgets" for its Children's Fishing Derby and Take Me Fishing programs. Each year the Division tries to do more with less as its Freshwater Fisheries staff increases production to supply more and more fishing derbies annually. Also each year, the agency increases its presence at fishing derbies to provide information to youngsters through a team effort between the Bureaus of Freshwater Fisheries, Law Enforcement, and Information and Education. At the same time, it is increasing its fishing introduction and instruction programs. The Division has been doing all this at a very low cost and it was recognized by this award.

The 2003 Freshwater Fishing Issue of the New Jersey Fish and Wildlife Digest received a fourth place award in the Regulation Publication Category. This follows a third place award for the same issue last year.

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