The Nebraska Wildlife Federation held its 12th annual Fall Fundraiser Gala on Tuesday, honoring Maureen Franklin for her efforts in the relocation of prairie dogs in Nebraska.
The federation is a nonprofit dedicated to conservation work in the state, including rivers, flora and fauna. The gala’s theme was prairie dogs, in honor of Franklin’s work.
Franklin, a former vice president for academic affairs at Doane University, was named the federation’s Conservationist of the Year. She led the effort to rescue and relocate hundreds of prairie dogs from land Doane owned in Fillmore County to the Hutton Niobrara Wildlife Sanctuary in north-central Nebraska.
Banquet speakers included Alan Bartels of Nebraska Life Magazine, who recently published a children’s book “What’s Going on in Prairie Dog Town?”
Ron Klataske, executive director of Audubon of Kansas, spoke about the welfare of the relocated prairie dogs.
Mel Thorton, a retired math professor at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln, received a Lifetime Achievement Award for his volunteer work. Thornton, a former federation board member, designed a website for the nonprofit Friends of the Niobrara and has maintained the federation website.