Larry Adams’ leadership bridged the National Military Fish and Wildlife Association from the its early, more turbulent days to a period of improved relations with the Department of Defense, improved financial stability, and a truly representative governance…. in short to becoming a full-fledged conservation association that was professionally and publicly recognized by other national conservation organizations. Larry Adams began his career in Defense conservation as a Lieutenant while stationed at Fort Sill, Oklahoma. Larry had a wildlife degree, and he volunteered many hours assisting the Fish and Wildlife Division with projects, such as deer census, habitat improvement, and waterfowl census using his ability to correctly identify ducks in the air and from the air. Following his completion of military service, Larry returned to college and earned his Master’s Degree in wildlife. He then was hired by Fort Sill as a civil service wildlife biologist where he directed field operations. From there, Larry’s professional Defense career took him to Patuxent Naval Air Station, and his final career position was at Army Headquarters where he served as the U.S. Army Wildlife Biologist.
While serving at Fort Sill, Larry quickly moved from the ranks of simple membership in the National Military Fish and Wildlife Association into a leadership role during the Association’s formative years. Larry was the Program Chair from 1984 through 1986 when the position entailed organizing the entire program and completing all event planning activities from meeting rooms and equipment through banquet menus. Larry was largely responsible for the Association’s first major meeting, held concurrently with the North American Wildlife and Natural Resources Conference. It is difficult to understate the importance of this meeting. To quote the Association’s official history, “It should be noted that the March 1986 meeting in Reno, NV in conjunction with the North American Wildlife and Natural Resources Conference, was a highlight for NMFWA. The Association had about 120 in attendance, which was, by far, the largest attendance of any group (including governmental agencies) represented at this most prestigious conference. Many feel that this meeting was the first time the Association was recognized by the conservation community as a viable conservation organization. It is safe to say that national credibility was attained in Reno in 1986.” Larry was elected Vice President of the Association in 1986, a two-year term through the 1988 meeting. Larry actively reached out to the Department of Defense to enhance the early efforts of Cristina Ramsey followed by those of Peter Boice to build relationships between the National Military Fish and Wildlife Association and the Department of Defense. Larry Adams was elected President for a two-year term that ran from the end of the 1988 annual meeting through the 1990 meeting. Prior to this time, the Association had difficulty maintaining adequate funds to meet year-round growing requirements. Under Larry’s leadership, the Association significantly increased its financial stability. President Adams expressed concern to the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service over the Service’s efforts to eliminate law enforcement commissions as U.S. Deputy Game Wardens for Defense personnel. After many years of frustrating work, this early commitment to enforcement improvements eventually led to the current wildlife law enforcement program with Defense. Larry suffered a major illness during his term of President, but he continued his duties as President and later as immediate Past President in spite of significant health issues. On February 4th, 1992 Larry Adams died. By nature, Larry Adams was an immensely proud, yet very private individual. He understood the “in the trenches” working with installation wildlife programs just as he understood the complexities and finesse required to deal with command issues to support those installation programs. He served the National Military Fish and Wildlife Association at a time when it was critical for the Association to mature from a small leadership cadre to a more representative leadership. He was the very important bridge from the Association’s early, more turbulent days to a period of improved relations with the Department of Defense, improved financial stability, and a truly representative governance…. in short to becoming a full-fledged conservation association that was professionally and publicly recognized as such by other national conservation organizations.