RALPH W. ABELE CONSERVATION HERITAGE AWARD
Peter S. Duncan
Pete Duncan was among the youngest of the so-called "OB's." These were conservation leaders from the public and private sector who met several times a year at camp to map strategy for protecting our natural resources.
OB's Fall 1983 gathering - from right, Len Green, Pete Duncan, Ken Sink, Ralph Abele, Maurice Goddard and other conservation leaders.
The Pennsylvania Fish and Boat Commission has selected Peter S. Duncan as the recipient of the 1997 Ralph W. Abele Conservation Heritage Award. The award was presented to Mr. Duncan on October 3, 1997 in Erie. The citation was presented to Mr. Duncan by Executive Director Peter Colangelo.
Duncan, 53, of Millerstown, has distinguished himself in service to the cause of conservation in Pennsylvania. Duncan was nominated for this award by Joseph B.C. White of Pittsburgh. The nomination described in glowing terms Mr. Duncan's long commitment to conservation and the environment, as well his dedicated service alongside Ralph W. Abele in shaping many of the laws and policies that protect, conserve and enhance Pennsylvania's precious natural heritage. In addition to his service in a variety of public positions, Duncan has volunteered his time and efforts to advise and direct planning and development of conservation education programs and curriculums in public and other schools of the Commonwealth. He has assisted and participated in numerous "hands on" projects with Trout Unlimited, Boy Scouts, Conservation Districts, National Wildlife Federation and many state and private groups and others beyond the Commonwealth.
Duncan's ability to provide leadership by example in advancing common sense approaches, cooperative exchanges and effective compromise where necessary have provided an exemplary benchmark for other Commonwealth conservationists.
The Ralph W. Abele Conservation Heritage Award is the highest honor the Pennsylvania Fish and Boat Commission can confer in recognition of dedicated service to conservation of Pennsylvania's natural resources. The Abele Award commemorates Ralph W. Abele, the late executive director of the Pennsylvania Fish Commission, whose commitment to conservation and education made him a hero to all Pennsylvania conservationists. Executive Director Peter A. Colangelo observed:
"Peter Duncan's long association with Ralph, and his lifetime devotion to the cause of conservation make him truly worthy of this exceptional honor. As the recipient of the 1997 Abele Award, Pete Duncan joins a constellation of conservationists whose outstanding contributions have been similarly recognized. Past winners were: Ken Sink, Dr. Maurice Goddard, Lenny Green, Dr. William Kodrich and Robert W. McCullough, Jr."
During the past 30 years, Duncan has served in a series of natural resources posts. Former Governor Richard Thornburgh appointed Duncan to head the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania's Department of Environmental Resources in January 1982. From 1983 to 1994, Duncan served as executive director of the Pennsylvania Game Commission, which manages 1.4 million acres of public recreational lands. Duncan oversaw the acquisition of more than 125,000 acres of state land during his tenure. From 1996 until 1997, Duncan worked as a consultant to the International Association of Fish and Wildlife Agencies, an association of government organizations dedicated to natural resources conservation. He is a former president and former Executive Committee chairman of that organization. In July 1997, Duncan was named Deputy Commissioner for Natural Resources of the New York Department of Environmental Conservation.
Duncan began his career in 1966 as a park naturalist and interpretive services supervisor for the Arlington County Department of Environmental Affairs in Arlington, Va. Duncan earned a bachelor's degree in park and recreation administration from Pennsylvania State University. He also completed a program for senior executives in state and local government at Harvard University's John F. Kennedy School of Government.
Duncan served in the U.S. Army, was a company commander in Vietnam and was awarded the Bronze Star with Oak Leaf Clusters, the Vietnamese Cross of Gallantry and an Army Commendation Medal. President of the Pennsylvania Forestry Association from 1975 to 1977, Duncan received the Pennsylvania Fish Commission White Hat Award in 1976 and was named Public Administrator of the Year in 1981 by the Central Pennsylvania Chapter of the American Society of Public Administrators.
Peter Duncan's public and private demonstrations of personal integrity and dedication to principle and truth have marked his career as forester, soldier, public servant and citizen. His performance at every level has inculcated the same high levels of trust and honor that Ralph Warren Abele personified. Beyond his service to the resources themselves, he possesses and regularly extends to others his rich appreciation for the wonders of the natural world as sportsman, naturalist and scientist.