Maryland Wood Duck Initiative Leader Named Conservationist of the Year

Maryland Wood Duck Initiative Leader Named Conservationist of the Year

Annapolis, Maryland – -( The Maryland Department of Natural Resources Wildlife Advisory Commission has named Cliff Brown of the Maryland Wood Duck Initiative, Conservationist of the Year for 2007 for his exceptional work in the field of wildlife and environmental health.

“Receiving this award is very gratifying to not just me, but to everyone involved in the effort, and I hope that it will bring more attention to environmental restoration,” said Cliff Brown. “The support is just incredible and we hope that we can perpetuate these efforts to create a broader appreciation of the entire wetlands experience.”

Brown established the all-volunteer Maryland Wood Duck Initiative in 2004 to enhance Maryland's wood duck population and generate a greater appreciation of their wetlands habitat. Since 2005, the Initiative helped build and install more than 1,500 new boxes on public sites and in privately sponsored programs by utilizing well-built nest boxes and predator guards that are properly positioned and in proximity to good brood rearing habitat. Through Brown's leadership, the Initiative established partnerships with groups including the National Wildlife Federation, Maryland Envirothon and the Boy Scout's Eagle Scout program to demonstrate best practices in artificial nest box efforts.

“Cliff Brown's tireless efforts have directly increased wood duck productivity on State and private wetlands in Maryland,” said Jonathan McKnight, acting director of the Wildlife and Heritage Service. “The Initiative is a success story in progress illustrating citizens and government working together for the preservation of our natural resources.”

Brown's awareness of the species was ignited when he purchased property in Rock Hall in 1993 and became interested in three neglected duck boxes on the property. Through trial and error in his own back yard, Brown learned methods to ensure the success of each box. Since then, he has continually worked from the local level up to increase awareness of the species and the entire ecosystem in which it inhabits. A former president of an integrated energy company with a MBA from George Washington University, Brown splits his time between Washington, D.C. and Rock Hall.

For more information about the Maryland Wood Duck Initiative, visit

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