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New National Conservation Training Center director named

September 30, 2008

SHEPHERDSTOWN, W.Va. - A 17-year veteran of the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service who has helped manage one of the agency's largest regions and who once was an endangered species expert in the agency's Washington, D.C., headquarters has been named director of the agency's National Conservation Training Center north of Shepherdstown, the agency announced Monday.

Jay Slack, 44, a native of Pekin, Ill., who holds a B.S. in biology and an M.S. in ecology from Illinois State University, succeeds John R. "Rick" Lemon as director of the 500-acre training facility off Shepherd Grade Road. He took over the job Monday.

Slack most recently was deputy director of the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service's eight-state Mountain/Prairie region headquartered in Colorado, one of the agencies largest regions, according to a news release from the local center.

The region covers the Dakotas through much of the Midwest and as far west as Utah and Montana. Endangered species, partnerships with private landowners and habitat conservation efforts through the nation's agricultural mid-section typify the work of the region, which includes 110 national wildlife refuges - nearly one-quarter of the nation's total - and 12 national fish hatcheries, the release said.

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Before his Colorado post, Slack was field supervisor for nine years in the service's Vero Beach, Fla., ecological services office, where significant endangered species and wetlands conservation issues in the rapidly developing state made his job one of the most high-profile responsibilities in the Fish and Wildlife Service, the release said.

The National Conservation Training Center provides professional training for the nation's federal, state and private sector conservationists and land managers.

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