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Virginia “Ginny” Wood Receives USFWS Citizen’s Award


The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service today awarded the Service Citizen’s
Award to Virginia “Ginny” Wood of Fairbanks, Alaska. The Service Citizen’s
Award commends private citizens and organizations for their significant
contributions to the mission and goals of the Service. The ceremony took
place in a hand-hewn log cabin that Ms. Wood built in the 1950s, and was
attended by about a dozen friends and family members.

After serving as a war-plane ferry pilot during World War II, Wood arrived
in Alaska in 1947 by flying a war-surplus airplane from Seattle to
Fairbanks. Her conservation career began with grassroots organizing that
helped convince the Eisenhower Administration to set aside what became the
Arctic National Wildlife Refuge. As part of this organizing effort, Wood
co-founded the Alaska Conservation Society, Alaska’s first conservation
organization. She also played a significant role in the passage of the 1980
Alaska National Interest Lands Conservation Act, which increased the size
of the refuge to 19 million acres. Wood had a leading role in the 1950s and
‘60s opposing the proposed Rampart Dam, which would have flooded the entire
Yukon Flats, and the Project Chariot proposal, which would have used
nuclear explosives to blast a harbor in northwestern Alaska.

Among her many accomplishments, Wood started Alaska’s first ecotourism
venture, Camp Denali, at Denali National Park. In addition, she has served
as a mentor to countless young emerging conservationists.

“Ginny Wood has left her mark on the landscape of Alaska and made an
indelible impression on Alaska’s conservation community, leading by example
with passion and vision,” said Fish and Wildlife Service Acting Director
Rowan Gould. “Because of her remarkable foresight, some of Alaska’s most
treasured places remain untrammeled and are enjoyed by people from
throughout the world. With this award, we express our gratitude for Ginny’s
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