Benjy Strope of White Oak was recognized for his successes working with farmers and agricultural corporations to preserve water and land quality in the state with the Wildlife Management Excellence Award from the Southeastern Section of The Wildlife Society.
He was also named the Division of Wildlife Management Biologist of the Year in 2011.
Strope has worked since 2006 establishing and managing wildlife habitat in the expansive corporate farm setting of southeastern North Carolina. The 15,980-acre project is part of North Carolina’s efforts aimed at restoring wild bobwhites, and part of a larger effort across 25 states.
Over the years, Strope secured and managed $566,000 in funding for the program and engaged agriculture corporations, primarily hog farms, to cooperate with habitat improvements such as field borders, native grasses and timber stand enhancements. Strope conducts “Wildlife & Water Quality” workshops for corporate farmers, family farmers and professionals at least yearly.
Not only does the area now have one of the highest density quail populations in the state, it also supports a variety of threatened songbirds — including loggerhead shrikes, American kestrels, northern harriers, dickcissels, yellow-breasted chats, eastern meadowlarks, eastern kingbirds, blue grosbeaks and indigo buntings.