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Tue, 10.14.1958

Mamie Parker, Biologist born

Dr. Mamie Parker

*Dr. Mamie Parker was born on this date in 1958. She is a Black biologist, environmental justice advocate, and administrator.

She was born in a cotton field in Wilmot, Arkansas, and was her mother Cora’s last chance for a boy. Her mother intended her name to honor President Eisenhower for his efforts to advance civil rights. As fate would have it, Parker was born on the President's birthday and named in honor of the first lady.  Parker was among the first Black students to attend integrated schools.  Wilmot H.S. was an experience that she says helped set her on a course of success and growth with another culture she would have otherwise not been exposed. She also attended the University of Arkansas at Pine Bluff.

Parker began her career as a fishery biologist at a national fish hatchery in Wisconsin. From there, she was the first black person to serve as a Deputy Regional Director and Regional Director in the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS).  Her grounding philosophy has led her employees to believe that people are important.  She counts among her conservation successes while Regional Director, listing the Atlantic salmon as an endangered species to protect the magnificent game fish.

She’s left other imprints, leading the effort in creating the first Arkansas Ecological Services Field Office in Conway and having formerly supervised trout, bass, walleye, paddlefish, and sturgeon propagation on three national fish hatcheries in Arkansas. As USFWS Assistant Director of Fisheries and Habitat Conservation, she strives to elevate the importance of the fisheries program standing at the fore of a national fish habitat plan that will focus efforts to stave aquatic habitat degradation across the nation.

Dr. Parker remembers fondly fishing south Arkansas waters for grinner, carp, and catfish with her mother, her foundation stone, and she carries with her today the lessons imparted. Cutline to attend your portrait at the Foundation and attend your portrait in future printed programs: Dr. Parker has been called “an uncommon woman in uncommon places.”  Dr. Parker was Assistant Director for Fisheries and Habitat Conservation in the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service.

Now that she is retired, Dr. Parker works to get youth interested in the outdoors and science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) careers through organizations, including the Links, Inc. and the National Wildlife Federation’s Garden for Wildlife Program.

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