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Props to Ned Keller!

Ned Keller, in a rare state of repose with three furry friends. The animals appear to be looking to Ned for guidance, as so many of us bipeds do.

A Big Congratulations are in order for Ned, who is the 2009 recipient of the Stewart Welsh Conservation Award. This honor is bestowed by the Hamilton County (Ohio) Park District, and goes to individuals who have made a profound difference in environmental protection in southwest Ohio. 2009 marks only the second year that the award has been given, and it is fitting that Ned would be one of its first recipients. Stewart Welsh was a longtime advocate for the environment and was instrumental in establishing the park district's land management program, ultimately helping to make Hamilton County Parks one of the finest park systems in Ohio.

Ned, an attorney by trade, touches lots of people in Ohio, whether they know it or not. Our Ohio Birds listserv, which carries thousands of posts annually and is one of the largest in the country, is aptly managed by Ned and has been for a long time. That's why it is so problem-free, and the listserv has evolved into an indispensable tool for Ohio birders to quickly share their sightings.

He is also secretary of the Ohio Bird Records Committee, a challenging task if there ever were one. Ned was also on board from Day One with the still relatively new Ohio Ornithological Society, serving on its board and helping in many ways. His guidance was, and is, vital to the organization.

Ned is also active in lots of ways in the Cincinnati area, helping to spearhead the massive Cinci Christmas Bird Count, oversee the wonderful Birding in Cincinnati website, help with the local Ohio Young Birders Club, and undoubtedly far more other things of which I've got no idea.

You get the point. This is a guy who volunteers a LOT of his time to help others. And in top of everything, he is just a great guy who is enthusiastic about birds and nature in general. Too bad he can't be cloned.

Congratulations, Ned!


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