Natural Resource Societies Recognize Kansas Conservation Champion

Joseph Kramer, life-long conservationist wins 2019 award

MANHATTAN, Kan. – 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.

Joseph (Joe) Kramer (center) with his wife, Sandy and their son, Lucas.

Kramer received the award at the Kansas Natural Resource Conference in Manhattan on February 1st. The award recognizes 38 years of contributions Kramer has made to the state of Kansas while serving in a variety of positions. During his 35 years with the KDWPT, he 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.

Upon his retirement, he began working as a wetland coordinator for the Kansas Alliance for Wetlands and Streams (KAWS) and Ducks Unlimited (DU) as a special projects manager. His tremendous network of partners from his KDWPT career expanded and strengthened stakeholder relationships in western Kansas. His efforts 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. His passion for Kansas wetlands and wildlife is truly evident and contagious to those that work with him.

Additional information about the award and the Kansas Natural Resource Conference may be found at