A renewed effort to rename the National Noxubee Wildlife Refuge is currently underway in the U.S. Senate.
The measure (S.266) would designate the Noxubee National Wildlife Refuge as the Sam D. Hamilton Noxubee National Wildlife Refuge, in memory of Starkville native Sam Hamilton, who served as the director of the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service.
The legislation was reintroduced to the Senate by Mississippi Senator Thad Cochran and that bill has been referred to the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee.
Henry Sansing, manager of the National Noxubee Wildlife Refuge, said this designation would be an important honor for the Refuge.
“I think that’s wonderful,” Sansing said. “I think that is most befitting of such a dedicated professional as Sam Hamilton. He was so liked and he was always such a gentlemen. He was always so knowledgeable.”
Sansing said because of the life Hamilton lived and the professionalism in which he approached his job, having the Refuge named in his memory would an honor.
Hamilton built a 30-year career with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, becoming its director in September 2009.
He was recognized for his work to restore coastal wetlands and wildlife habitats following Hurricanes Katrina and Rita, as well as for restoration efforts within the Florida Everglades. Before graduating from Mississippi State University, Hamilton worked with the Youth Conservation Corps on the Noxubee National Wildlife Refuge.
Hamilton passed away unexpectedly in Feb. 2010.
“Sam Hamilton’s contributions to protecting our natural resources and ecosystems in Mississippi and throughout the country were considerable. Naming the Noxubee Refuge for him will serve as a reminder of his dedication to wildlife and the environment,” Cochran said. “I was disappointed that this measure was not enacted last year, but I am hopeful that we can get it done this year.”
Located in east-central Mississippi, the Noxubee Refuge covers 48,000 square acres and is a resting and feeding area for migratory birds.
“For (Hamilton) growing up in Starkville and spending his early days at the refuge, it’s all fitting,” Sansing said. “It’s quite an honor for us, and a well-deserved honor for him.”