Secretary Mike Hayden of the Kansas Department of Wildlife and Parks will speak at a public forum hosted by Fort Hays State University at 2 p.m. Friday, Jan. 16, in the Memorial Union on the university campus.
Hayden, a former Kansas governor, was appointed by Gov. Kathleen Sebelius to be the secretary of the Kansas Department of Wildlife and Parks on Jan. 2, 2002. A cabinet-level agency, the Department of Wildlife and Parks is administered by a secretary of wildlife and parks and is advised by a seven-member Wildlife and Parks Commission.
Hayden will be talking about various KDWP projects that impact the water resources of western Kansas. He will also discuss issues from the governor?s State-of-the-State message Monday night.
Raised in the rural town of Atwood, Hayden developed a passion for the out-of-doors. He graduated from Kansas State University with a bachelor's degree in wildlife conservation and earned a master's degree in biology from Fort Hays State University.
He served as speaker of the Kansas' House of Representatives from 1983 until 1987 and as the 41st governor of Kansas from 1987 until 1991. Soon thereafter, President George H.W. Bush appointed him assistant secretary of interior for fish, wildlife and parks. In 1993, Hayden became the president of the American Sportfishing Association, a non-profit trade association working to benefit America?s fishing resources and the sportfishing industry.
He was a commissioner on the Pew Oceans Commission, an independent group of American leaders conducting a national dialogue on the policies needed to restore and protect living marine resources in U.S. waters, and also served as chair of the League of Conservation Voters and as vice chair for the Congressional Sportsmen's Foundation. While in Washington, he served as acting chair of the Migratory Bird Commission from 1991 until 1993 and as board member of the North American Wetlands Conservation Council from 1993 until 1996.
In 1995, he was awarded the prestigious Chevron-Times Mirror Conservation Award, becoming the fourth Kansan to receive the award in its 25-year history. In March of 1996, he was awarded the very first Hunting Heritage Award by the National Wild Turkey Federation. In 1997, he received "A Special One-Time Conservation Award" from the Kansas Natural Resource Council.
During his military service in Vietnam he was awarded the Bronze Star for Valor, the Soldier's Medal for Heroism and the Vietnamese Gallantry Cross.
Hayden is an ardent conservationist and outdoorsman with a lifelong interest in fishing, hunting, canoeing and whitewater rafting. He enjoys fly tying, mushroom hunting, bird watching and collecting antique fishing lures.