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State Honoree

Michael Perez

Arkansas

is developing a 50-acre wildlife preserve, along with a nature trail and learning center, to protect local species and educate others about the importance of conservation. Michael, a 4-H member who already had a strong interest in animals and their habitats, saw a TV program about a wildlife center one day and thought it would be a smart idea to start one in his area. “I feel it is important to teach others while they are young to take care of the environment and our natural habitats,” said Michael. He approached several agencies, including the state Game & Fish Commission, and secured 50 acres of land for his project. Michael solicited local businesses for donations and gifts in kind, and recruited his entire 4-H group to assist. He then submitted a 5-year project plan to the commission, which includes construction of a nature trail and a learning center. With the project still in development, Michael prepares monthly progress reports, conducts monthly meetings, and coordinates regular educational programs. He hopes to complete the project by the year 2003.