The end of the year has brought the Neosho National Fish Hatchery and one staff member special honors.

The hatchery learned this week that it has been awarded one of only five 2013 Department of the Interior Team Achievement Awards. The award to the local hatchery recognized Neosho's efforts in the Climate Change Goals of the Department.

The hatchery was chosen for the award by a panel of reviewers from the Interior Department bureaus and offices.

Besides Neosho, the other four teams chosen for the award include the Kalaupapa National Park Green Team, (National Park Service, Hawaii); a New Model for Spawning, Incubation, and Nursery Operations at Dworshak National Fish Hatchery, (U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, Idaho); San Luis National Wildlife Refuge Complex Headquarters and Visitor Center, (U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, California); Slow the Flow Campaign, Parker River National Wildlife Refuge, (U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, Massachusetts).

In naming Neosho as a recipient of the prestigious award, the Fish and Wildlife Service released the following:

“The Visitor Center project implements the FWS Climate Change Engagement Goal by communication our outstanding  achievement to others. Although this popular project was a one-of-a-kind design that was advocated by the Friends of the Neosho National Fish Hatchery, the lessons learned will be used at least at several other future projects in the Midwest Region, such as the Detroit Lakes Wetland Management District Headquarters Building, Michigan; the Crab Orchard National Wildlife Refuge Headquarters Building, Illinois; and the Port Louisa NWR Headquarters Building, Iowa, and has been shared with other FWS Regions and Departments of the Interior bureaus.

The Visitor Center is supported and used by over 30,000 students per year and many local organizations, including Walmart, the City of Neosho, the Neosho Chamber of Commerce, Crowder College, the local banker's association, the Division of Family Service, and the Friends of the Neosho National Fish Hatchery. The Daughters of the American Revolution (DAR) mounted a plaque on the building in recognition of its achievements. The Fish and Wildlife Service signed a net meeting agreement with Empire District Electric Company, who helped arrange right-of-way and meter locations, and is considering a rebate for the solar PV system. More than 100,000 visitors per year learned about the benefits of the attractive and sustainable green building, while learning about various types of fish and their habitats and history of the fish restoration work done at the hatchery.

In addition to this national award, Janice Eaton, who manages the reception desk at the hatchery was honored by the Friends of the Neosho National Fish Hatchery.  She was presented a personalized plaque, designed and made by Willy Jones, a member of the Friends group.

The award states, Janice Eaton - The best friend the 'Friends' could ever want.

Eaton has given exceptional assistance to the group and to the operation of the Friends Bookstore at the hatchery.