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National Wildlife Refuge System recognizes UF alumnus for work on Nature Coast

A longtime partner of UF/IFAS has been named the National Wildlife Refuge System’s employee of the year for his dedication to environmental conservation on Florida’s Nature Coast.

Vic Doig, who holds a UF bachelor’s degree in zoology, is the fire management officer at the Lower Suwannee and Cedar Keys National Wildlife Refuges. However, in collaborating with UF/IFAS, his work has extended beyond prescribed fire operations.

“Vic Doig’s support for the UF/IFAS Nature Coast Biological Station exemplifies the partnership that brings science to communities in ways that improve people’s lives,” said Jack Payne, UF’s senior vice president for agriculture and natural resources and leader of UF/IFAS. “I am proud to see UF alumni like Vic enter careers of public service and mature into recognized leaders in their fields.”

For Doig, the honor came as a surprise.

“This is a tremendous honor, but truly humbling, as I do not deserve this award more than any of my supervisors, co-workers, volunteers and partners who make all of our progress in habitat management possible. It is a reflection of our leadership providing support for a job that I love and am passionate about,” Doig said. “The University of Florida prepared me very well and instilled the passion that I have for wildlife and natural resources, and I will always be a Gator.”

The UF/IFAS Nature Coast Biological Station looks to Doig for his expertise on the region’s plants, animals and environments, said Mike Allen, the station’s director.

“Vic is always willing to give his time to educate the public about bird ecology in our region, changes we are seeing due to climate change, and updates about status and control of non-native vegetation,” Allen said. “He is a wealth of knowledge, and he shares that knowledge with the community.  He is one of our closest agency partners.”

While Doig may not have anticipated the honor, Andrew Gude, who manages the refuges, said Doig was the natural choice.

“Vic Doig is an outstanding wildlife and avian biologist, prescribed and wildfire responder, administrator, and an all-out model employee and colleague,” Gude said. “I am continually humbled by Vic’s dedication, job performance and going the extra mile on all that he does on behalf of our National Wildlife Refuges. I am honored by Vic’s professionalism, sense of humor, can-do attitude and his kindness, which make him an invaluable friend and colleague.”

Doig’s enthusiasm for working with the larger Nature Coast community is part of what earned him the honor of employee of the year, said Larry Woodward, deputy manager for the refuges.

“He has made invaluable partnerships with numerous organizations, sharing information, equipment, personnel and support, all for the sake of managing and protecting these invaluable resources of the Refuge System. Vic’s vision is the mission,” Woodward said.

In addition to working closely with Doig, UF/IFAS partners with the refuges on research projects, the use of the Seahorse Key Marine Lab and a summer internship program for undergraduates.

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