Cumberland Times-News

May 5, 2014

Mathews receives Appalachian Lab’s environmental education award

Honor named in memory of longtime orthopedic surgeon

For the Cumberland Times-News
Cumberland Times-News

— FROSTBURG — Wildlife biologist and avid outdoorsman Tom Mathews is the recipient of the Appalachian Laboratory’s 2014 Richard A. Johnson Environmental Education Award.

The University of Maryland Center for Environmental Science’s Appalachian Laboratory selected Mathews as a longtime champion of the natural world who continues to be an environmental steward.

Mathews had a 28-year career with the Maryland Department of Natural Resources as a wildlife biologist from 1974 to 2001. He played a leadership role in the development of Maryland’s first white-tailed deer management plan, was instrumental in Maryland’s initial efforts to develop black bear management strategies, and was responsible for developing hunting and trapping regulations for game species.

“It is a pleasure to honor Tom Mathews with the Richard Johnson Award,” said Raymond Morgan, interim director of the Appalachian Laboratory. “Over the years that he was employed with the Maryland Department of Natural Resources, he displayed a strong commitment to the wise use of the wonderful resources of Maryland. After retirement, Tom continues to be an advocate for the environment.”

The award honors the memory of Richard A. Johnson, a well-known orthopedic surgeon in the Allegany County area. He died in 1990, leaving a legacy of a caring and dedicated physician, family man and naturalist. The Appalachian Laboratory honors his memory through its promotion of environmental education in Western Maryland and the people who excel in its practice.

A native of Allegany County, Mathews is employed as a habitat biologist and contractor for the Wildlife Management Institute on the Appalachian Mountains Young Forest Initiative and serves as a member of the Green Ridge State Forest Advisory Board and the Allegany County Forestry Board.

He also served on the steering committee for the formation of Home Ground, a nonprofit Allegany County conservation organization founded in 2011. He served as the chairman of Home Ground’s board of directors in 2011 and 2012 and continues to serve as a member of the board. The organization provides learning experiences for students, nature enthusiasts, business leaders and families to promote the many ways natural resources support and enrich life in Allegany County.

Mathews continues to enjoy hunting and fishing, especially his lifelong passion for float fishing on the Potomac River for smallmouth bass with family and friends. He credits his passion for the outdoors and his inquisitive eye for the natural world to his father and uncles who recognized the values of taking a young boy hunting and fishing.

Mathews was one of the first students to graduate in 1971 from the forestry program at Allegany College of Maryland. He earned his bachelor of science degree in wildlife biology at West Virginia University.

The Richard A. Johnson Environmental Education Award provides $2,000 to support further environmental education activities. The endowment supporting the award was made possible through the support of Allegheny Power, NewPage Corp., Alliance Resource Partners (Mettiki Coal), and numerous other donors over the past decade. Sponsors of this year’s program include AES Warrior Run, Mettiki Coal, NewPage Paper, ACM and numerous friends.