Dr. Laurence R. Jahn
Larry Jahn (officially Dr. Laurence R. Jahn) died on August 15, 2000. On that date the National Military Fish and Wildlife Association lost its most influential supporter in the conservation world.
Larry was a conservation superstar. He was President of The Wildlife Management Institute, President of The Wildlife Society, Chairman of the Natural Resources Council of America, Chairman of the National Watershed Congress, a member and Chairman of the Virginia Game and Inland Fisheries Commission, and involved in many more organizations with national and international stature.
He was a tireless worker across the conservation waterfront, from wetlands management to university fish and wildlife research to marine fisheries management to bird protection and management to agricultural programs and numerous other endeavors. He authored over 100 publications, technical reports, book chapters, and popular articles. He was a member of many conservation organizations. Larry’s list of honors is long, including wildlife’s highest honor, the Aldo Leopold Award in 1989.
Within Defense, Larry served as Chair of the Environmental Advisory Board of the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers in 1983-85, and he was Chairman of the Scientific Advisory Board for the Department of Defense, Strategic Environmental Research and Development Program in 1992-93.
Larry Jahn understood the challenges of managing military installations. He visited installations and took the time to understand their conservation issues and needs. For example, he visited Fort Sill on two occasions; both of his outbriefs resulted in immediate program improvements and additional command support. His instant credibility with command personnel was a thing of beauty to watch (and learn from). After his first Sill visit, he so quickly arranged for a transplant of wild turkeys to Fort Sill from Texas that the turkeys showed up before coordination between the two state agencies was completed. No big deal, but it demonstrated that when Larry saw an opportunity to help an installation, he made things happen.
Yes, Dr. Laurence Jahn was a true national conservation leader, a very busy man with a full plate of agendas. Yet, Larry Jahn took the time and expended the political capital to help the National Military Fish and Wildlife Association achieve status as an important player on the national conservation scene.
With Larry’s promotion and full support as Chairman of the North American Wildlife and Natural Resources Conference Program Committee, in 1986 the National Military Fish and Wildlife Association met in Reno, Nevada in conjunction with the North American Conference. The Association had the largest attendance of any group (including governmental agencies) represented at this most prestigious conference.
It was the first time our Association was recognized as an important and useful conservation organization by the national conservation community as a whole. The National Military Fish and Wildlife Association attained national credibility at that meeting. It would not have happened without the support and personal assistance of Larry Jahn.
Larry is no longer with us, but the Wildlife Management Institute continues its support of our Association at our annual meetings. With one exception, our Association has met in conjunction with this organization since 1989. We take for granted the first class support for our annual meetings and the continued credibility that meeting provides; we should not forget that much of that credit goes to Larry Jahn and those who are following his lead.
When the Association first worked to amend the Sikes Act, Larry Jahn and the Wildlife Management Institute were among the first to actively support our efforts. Larry pointed us to other like-minded conservation organizations who added their weight to our positions. It was the same on the Association’s second effort to improve the Sikes Act. Again, Larry and the Wildlife Management Institute were there for us. Our success in both endeavors is evidence of the value of such support.
When the conservation community thinks about Defense natural resources programs, they think of the National Military Fish and Wildlife Association. When Congress thinks about Defense conservation, they now include our Association’s opinions in their deliberations. Dr. Laurence R. Jahn played a major role in our attaining that status recognition.
On December 19, 2000 the National Military Fish and Wildlife Association established the “Lawrence R. Jahn Award.” It is our highest award and its recipients must meet the following criteria: 1) their actions must impact Defense conservation on a national level; 2) their efforts must have related to program and/or policy issues; 3) their efforts must have extended far beyond the scope of normal duties and should involve considerable personal time and energy; and 4) their actions must have involved collaboration with other agencies and conservation organizations. Larry would be proud of this award in his name. It stands for many of the same qualities he gave to us.
Dr. Laurence R. Jahn was an international conservation leader, a superstar who gave Defense conservation professionals his personal time and support, our most influential friend and supporter in the conservation world.