Legislature Recognizes Key Advocate for Maine Wildlife
Two words come to mind when I think of Sandy Ritchie: passion and integrity.
Sure, Sandy has brought exceptional organizational skills to every task she’s been assigned during her thirty-year career at Maine’s Department of Inland Fisheries and Wildlife. But it’s her passion for her work as a wildlife biologist, and her integrity, that have made her a star in that agency.
And it’s obvious she loves her job. “If I didn’t have a mortgage I’d have done this job for free,” she told me.
I participated a few years ago in a turkey working group led and facilitated by Sandy. She even purchased our lunches because her agency didn’t have the money to do it, and wouldn’t let me collect money to reimburse her.
This year Sandy’s work was recognized by her peers in The Wildlife Society and by the Maine legislature.
It was my privilege to be there when the legislature considered and voted on a sentiment recognizing Sandy. In attendance were Sandy’s mother, Jeanne Lovett of Gulfport, Florida, and the leaders of her department including Commissioner Chandler Woodcock.
Sandy, sitting in the House gallery, was recognized by Speaker of the House Bob Nutting (an avid sportsman) and she received the applause of all House members.
Her legislative sentiment, sponsored by Representative Jane Eberle, congratulated Sandy on her Wildlife Society award and said, in part, “We send our appreciation to Ms. Ritchie on her commitment to her profession and to the State of Maine and send her our congratulations on her receiving this well-deserved award.”
During the House consideration of the sentiment, Eberle called Ritchie, “an outstanding resource herself for the things that make Maine great… Sandy’s known for her thoughtful approach (and she enjoys) trust and respect from many quarters.”
Rep. Paul Davis noted, “Maine is fortunate to have her. She can hold her own with the guys and then some.”
The Wildlife Society’s 2011 Award of Meritorious Service is given to chapter members who have made outstanding contributions to wildlife conservation and the wildlife profession, and have demonstrated a commitment to the resource and the wildlife profession that exceeds normal expectations.
Ritchie is a 1980 University of Maine graduate who began her career at IF&W as a wildlife technician in Bangor. In 1984 she became assistant regional biologist in Sidney and was promoted to regional biologist in 1993.
From 1998 to 2003 Ritchie served as a wildlife resource planner in IF&W’s Augusta headquarters. She is currently a senior policy analyst focusing on habitat conservation and supervises the Beginning with Habitat Program as well as the Maine Wildlife Grants Program.
Ritchie is currently doing a superb job coordinating and implementing Maine’s Game Plan for Deer, a cooperative effort to rebuild the state’s white-tailed deer population.
It’s good to see good people like Sandy Ritchie recognized. She’s one of those key people at IF&W who quietly make Maine the special place we all value and love.