PERU — Ed Gardephe has left an impressive array of accomplishments in the field of conservation, and his legacy continues to grow.
The Babbie Rural and Farm Museum in Peru honored the retired wildlife biologist recently with a dedication ceremony for the Ed Gardephe Conservation Display, a newly created exhibit highlighting Gardephe’s love for hunting, fishing, trapping and the conservation of the outdoors.
“It’s beautiful,” he said, as the modest display was first revealed to a few dozen friends and colleagues in attendance. “Very, very nice.”
The exhibit, located in a freshly built wooden structure located behind the museum’s main barn, features a variety of tools and equipment and is identified by a hanging placard that reads, “Edward E. Gardephe, Adirondack Trapper.”
A bright blue sky was accented by fluffy white clouds hanging over the Adirondack Mountains to the west as several acquaintances praised Gardephe for his tireless energy in educating the public about the importance of conserving natural lands.
“Ed put in a lot of years of hard work,” said Stephan Dennie, coordinator for the Gardephe Display and the Edward G. Gardephe Conservation Legacy, a program museum staff will initiate to use Gardephe’s teachings in their hands-on activities.
“He certainly earned this award. It is an honor for us to be able to do this for Ed.”
MENTOR TO ALL
Longtime friend and colleague John Longware, who noted that he has known Gardephe for a half century, listed the man’sac
complishments, including valedictorian at Dannemora High School for the Class of 1950.
“Ed’s mother was a teacher, and she did a good job with this guy,” Longware said.
Gardephe, he noted, spent his adult life providing information on conservation while acting as a mentor to all who knew him.
Link Sunderland, a member of the museum’s board of directors and a classmate of Gardephe’s at Plattsburgh State, praised his friend’s unending knowledge of biology, the environment and conservation.
“Ed is a very personable and down-to-earth conservationist,” Sunderland said, adding that his special skill at educating young people was always appreciated by those he taught.
Leeward Babbie, president of the board and founder of the museum, noted that he and Gardephe worked together in many different 4-H programs over the years.
“It was always great to work with Ed,” he said. “He’s a man who always focused on what had to be done in any program he worked on.”
“I’ve only know Ed for 15 or 20 years,” Dennie said. “When I first met Ed, it took only a very few minutes for me to know that this was someone I wanted to know for a long time.”
Gardephe, who has always deflected focus from himself to whatever topic he was teaching, stayed in character by sharing just a few brief words with those in attendance.
“This is indeed a wonderful afternoon,” he said. “Titles come and titles go, but it’s the friends you meet over the years that makes the difference.”
Gardephe began his full-time career with the New York State Department of Conservation in 1956 and retired in 1992 as senior wildlife biologist.
He developed the Furbearer Trapping Class of the DEC Sportsman Education Program, which is still used today as a mandatory training tool for trappers.
He was also a popular instructor in the Clinton County Conservation Days for elementary-school students.
The Babbie Rural & Farm Learning Museum is located at 242 River Road in Peru. Learn more at http://www.babbiemuseum.org.
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