Carrol L. Henderson honored for lifetime of conservation work

Conservationist Carrol L. Henderson, the nongame wildlife program supervisor for the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources.
Conservationist Carrol L. Henderson, the nongame wildlife program supervisor for the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources.

A long-time contributor to BirdWatching magazine is being honored again for his conservation work, and we couldn’t be happier.

Carrol L. Henderson, the nongame wildlife program supervisor for the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources, will receive the Frances K. Hutchinson Medal on Sunday, May 22. One of the highest honors bestowed by the Garden Club of America, the medal recognizes “figures of national importance for distinguished service to conservation.”

Previous recipients include Rachel Carson, author of the book Silent Spring; cartoonist Jay N. “Ding” Darling, designer of the first Duck Stamp; artist Roger Tory Peterson, inventor of the modern field guide; author E. O. Wilson, developer of the theory of island biogeography; and George Archibald, co-founder of the International Crane Foundation.

The Garden Club is honoring Henderson for his lifetime of service to wildlife and natural resource conservation.

Henderson’s writing has appeared many times in BirdWatching. His most recent article, Open Doors, described birding in Cuba as new relaxed travel rules take effect. In the article Ralph’s Talking Eggs, he described a valuable, long-forgotten egg collection discovered in an Iowa farmhouse. Henderson is also a co-author of Feeding Wild Birds in America, a book we reviewed.

A lifetime of conservation

Among Henderson’s most significant accomplishments during 43 years at the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources was developing a statewide program for nongame wildlife conservation, one of the nation’s first. He planned and carried out programs for restoration of river otters and Trumpeter Swans and collaborated in efforts to restore Bald Eagles, Eastern Bluebirds and Peregrine Falcons.

In 1981, Henderson launched the “Chickadee Checkoff,” a state income and property-tax filing option that funds projects helping species ranging from dragonflies and butterflies to frogs, turtles, bats, snakes, bluebirds, Common Terns, Peregrine Falcons, shrikes, and Bald Eagles. More than $30 million has been raised to date.

Long before pollinators became a buzzword, Henderson advocated landscape plantings to benefit butterflies, bees, moths, and hummingbirds in his book Landscaping for Wildlife, one of 13 he has authored. More than $300,000 in royalties from book sales have been donated to conservation programs.

An avid birder and tour leader, Henderson has conducted 58 international birding tours in Africa, Central and South America, and New Zealand. He has collaborated with wildlife and tourism officials in Canada, China, Mexico, and Russia to promote nature tourism as a way of stimulating economic diversity and support for wildlife conservation in rural communities.

Henderson received the Gary T. Myers Bird Conservation Award from the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service in March 2012.

I couldn’t be happier for Carrol, or prouder of this magazine’s long association with him. — Chuck Hagner, Editor

Read ‘Open Doors,’ Carrol L. Henderson’s article about birding in Cuba

Ralph’s Talking Eggs, by Carrol L. Henderson.

Book review: Feeding Wild Birds in America.


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