Some people talk about the importance of taking care of the natural world around us; others put that belief into action that yields tangible change and positively influences everyone around them. Dr. Howard Tanner – former director of the DNR and longtime fisheries champion and educator – is one such person.

Earlier this month, he was honored by the Michigan Natural Resources Commission with the Thomas L. Washington Lifetime Conservation Award. Although Dr. Tanner was unable to travel to the September NRC meeting to accept the award, commission chair Tom Baird was honored to present it during a private birthday celebration at Dr. Tanner’s home, with many friends and family there to make the recognition especially meaningful.

With seven decades of leadership in fisheries management and a career built on mentorship and dedication to Michigan’s natural resources, Dr. Tanner’s career includes:

—Time at Michigan State University as director of the College of Agriculture and Natural Resources, inspiring and training many young students to follow their passions in managing fish and wildlife around the world.

—A tenure at the DNR as Fisheries Division chief and (from January 1975 to June 1983) as department director. His years at the DNR led to multiple high-profile clean-ups of contaminated sites; acquisition and development of unique public lands and waters; and such transformation of state fisheries that he earned the reputation of “father” of the Great Lakes recreational fisheries.

The award is named for Thomas L. Washington, past director of Michigan United Conservation Clubs and a giant in Michigan conservation. During his life, Washington helped build coalitions of conservationists and environmentalists to achieve landmark initiatives that benefit Michigan residents to this day.

For more on Dr. Tanner’s nomination and award, contact NRC chair Tom Baird at 517-290-6647.

Hitting the trails? Stop invasive species in your tracks.

If you’re heading outdoors during Michigan Trails Week (Sept. 18-25) – or any time of year – remember that when it comes to stopping the spread of invasive species, a little bit of prevention can go a long way and help avert serious damage.

The three simple steps of “Play, Clean, Go” can help protect our beautiful, natural spaces from the threat of invasive species. Every good decision you make now will help Michigan’s forests and natural areas thrive for the future.

PLAY: Hike, ride, run – have fun in the outdoors.

CLEAN: Before you leave the trail, shake it out, brush it off, wipe it down or whatever it takes to remove dirt and debris from your shoes, gear and vehicles.

GO: Head out on your next adventure, invasive species-free!

Whether your trail plans include off-roading, hiking biking or horseback riding, first stop by the webpage for more tips tailored to your favorite outdoor adventures.