2012 Prize Winner
A land of mountains, forests, wetlands, lakes and rivers, Oregon is not lacking for intricately crafted hiking trails, serene camping grounds or estuarine marshes. This is why 28-year-old Rob Klavins first moved here, he explains. Klavins is now wildlands and wildlife advocate for Oregon Wild, whose mission since 1974 has been to protect and restore the states wildlands, wildlife and water.
Since joining the team in 2008, Klavins has worked on several issues, including roadless-area protection, wolf and wildlife recovery, and public-lands policy.
Most of Klavins work with wolf recovery has been to counter the campaign of what he considers misinformation and fears about wolves. He organizes educational outdoor programs in which he takes hikers to wolf country so they can see where the animals are and talk to those who have learned to live with them. Yet, every year, Oregon faces anti-wolf legislation in the State Legislature. We try to avoid conflict and look to have solutions first, Klavins says, but we do draw a firm line.
Day in and day out, [Klavins] battles livestock-industry lobbyists and PR consultants who make 10 times the money he does, and he beats them, says Steve Pedery, conservation director for Oregon Wild.