"Sam understood conservation from the ground up," said Ken Smith, executive director of Arkansas Audubon. "He brought a practical approach to conservation and appreciated the importance of partnerships between private landowners and state and federal agencies. Sam did his work without a trace of ego and built partnerships wherever he went. The conservation community has lost a great leader."
"I saw Sam last in the Everglades helping to break ground on a project that will provide habitat for the Florida Panther and recreate a natural wetland," said Eric Draper, executive director of Audubon of Florida. "He was completely in his element bringing together ecosystem restoration and solutions to human impacts on the natural environment."
"Sam Hamilton was deeply committed to the mission of the Fish and Wildlife Service and the protection of America's great natural treasures," said Mike Daulton, Senior Director of Government Relations for the National Audubon Society, "Our thoughts are with the Fish and Wildlife Service and Department of the Interior during this difficult time."
The 54 year old Hamilton died on Saturday during a ski trip in Colorado. A 30 year veteran of the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service, Sam Hamilton was nominated by President Obama to be the service's 15th director. During his confirmation hearings before the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee, Hamilton pledged to deliver a "science-driven, strategic, big-picture approach" to address climate change and other issues, including habitat fragmentation, invasive species, water quality and illicit wildlife trade.
Hamilton warned the senators "as wildlife goes, so goes the nation."