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Clarence Beckwith Distinguished Alumni Award: Richard Schinkel

It’s hard to draw the line between Richard Schinkel’s work life and personal life. They appear to blend seamlessly. This naturalist and former teacher has served for 25 years in an appointed position on the Berrien County Parks and Recreation Commission, the last 10 as chairman.

Although Richard’s accomplishments are too many to mention here, he was instrumental in many community-minded projects, including publishing Birds of Michigan which raised $20,000 in royalties for Sarett and Kalamazoo Nature Centers, plus bringing two Midwest Birding Symposiums to LMC which raised $20,000 for Sarett, Fernwood, and Love Creek Nature Centers and the LMC Environmental Center. He helped institute the Southwest Michigan Team Birdathon that produced more than a half-million dollars to local non-profits over the last 23 years. He served as the project manager in implementing the Coastal Zone Management Grant. He also started the Wild Birds Unlimited franchise with a partner, and Green Wellies Garden Shoppe. 

He has served on the Sarett Nature Center Board, Berrien County Farmland Preservations Committee, Galien Watershed Committee, Paw Paw Watershed Committee, Michigan Audubon Field Representative, Medic One Board, and the Berrien County Historical Commission.

Richard Schinkel received the Clarence Beckwith Distinguished Alumni Award in 2012.

Photo of Richard Schinkel.

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