Three enter Natural Resources Hall of Fame


COLUMBUS – The Ohio Department of Natural Resources’ Hall of Fame added three individuals who have made lifelong contributions to the conservation and enjoyment of the state’s natural resources.

Those receiving the awards are Ralph Cobey of Galion, who worked to preserve Malabar Farm after the death of Louis Bromfield; Frances Kitchen, founder of Operation Orphan; and renowned herpetologist and former Toledo Zoo curator Roger Conant.

The department also presented its annual Cardinal Awards for conservation achievement to Arthur Farr of Bay Village, James Rinier of Kent and American Electric Power.

The Ohio Natural Resources Hall of Fame was created by ODNR in 1966. To date, 128 individuals have been accorded the honor.

Ralph Cobey. Ralph Cobey is personally responsible for twice saving Malabar Farm – once known as the most famous farm in America.

After his friend Louis Bromfield’s death in 1956, Cobey worked to form the Malabar Farm Foundation to preserve the farm. He again worked to preserve Louis Bromfield’s testament to conservation agriculture by overseeing Malabar’s transfer to the State of Ohio in 1972.

He served several Ohio governors in developing statewide environmental policy and has been a longtime supporter of the Boy Scouts on the local, state, national and international levels.

Frances Kitchen. For 38 years, Frances Kitchen of Akron has worked to protect and rehabilitate orphan wildlife. In 1988, she officially started “Operation Orphan” and has assisted the ODNR Division of Wildlife, as well as many other individuals and organizations, in protecting young animals. Kitchen cares for more than 700 baby or injured animals a year, and educates the public and volunteers about Ohio wildlife and how to not carelessly create such orphans.

Roger Conant. A nationally known biologist and former official of the Toledo Zoo, Roger Conant spent nine years researching Ohio’s snakes during the Great Depression doing research for his book, “The Reptiles of Ohio,” which is still highly regarded today.

He has also influenced generations of ecologists through his numerous writings and public appearances.

Other awards. The department’s Cardinal Awards honor individuals and organizations striving for a balance between the wise use and protection of natural resources for the benefit of all.

* American Electric Power offers more than 30,000 acres of reclaimed land in southern Ohio, known as ReCreation Land, for public recreation at no charge. ReCreation Land offers the public access to more than 350 lakes and ponds and nearly 380 campsites, some equipped with bathrooms, drinking water, picnic shelters and other amenities.

Since the program’s beginning, more than 4 million people have visited the area for sightseeing, hunting, fishing, camping, hiking and horseback riding.

* James Rinier created Kent State University’s natural resources program and continues to teach natural resource workshops. During his career, Rinier inspired hundreds of future natural resource professionals with his message of balancing wise use and protection.

* Arthur H. Farr, as a World War II Navy captain, earned two Silver Stars and a Bronze Star. Since then, he has promoted boating safety through his work on the local, state and national levels. Arthur Farr began his tenure with the Rocky River Power Squadron in 1972, and went on to lead at every possible level within the U.S. Power Squadrons. Most recently, Admiral Farr served as chief commander of U.S. Power Squadrons.


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