News from the DNR Office of Communications

DNR Dedicates Wildlife Sanctuary Visitors Center In Honor Of 32-Year Employee

Annapolis, Md. (November 9, 2010) — The Maryland Department of Natural Resources (DNR) has formally dedicated the Frank Oslislo Visitors Center at Merkle Wildlife Sanctuary in honor of the 32-year employee, who was instrumental in developing Management Plans that, to this day, guide the management for many DNR properties. Oslislo, who passed away in October of 2008 from cancer, was the face of DNR before the Board of Public Works (BPW) and the Maryland General Assembly for many years.

“This dedication honors an individual who dedicated his life to preserving the landscapes that are iconic to all Marylanders,” said Governor O’Malley. “Frank’s work will now live on not only in the hearts and minds of all who he touched, but also through the great outdoors that he so cherished.”

The Frank Oslislo Visitors Center at Merkle Wildlife Sanctuary is a fitting tribute to Oslislo’s life and work as he oversaw the management of several DNR properties, including Merkle Wildlife Sanctuary, during his time as Director of Land Management and Recreation Services for the Department. Oslislo was a beloved member of the DNR family for decades, and was well known and well respected among his colleagues.

At the dedication ceremony, members of the Oslislo family, DNR Deputy Secretary Joe Gill, Assistant Secretary Kristin Saunders-Evans, Superintendent of the Maryland Park Service Nita Settina, and guests spoke about Oslislo’s lasting legacy and dedication to Maryland’s many natural resources. Many DNR employees and professional colleagues, as well as friends and family of the Oslislos, were also in attendance.

“Frank had a huge impact on DNR and his coworkers,” said DNR Secretary John Griffin. “It’s only fitting that we dedicate a place that will continue to give back to devoted natural resource visitors in his honor.”

Merkle is the only wildlife sanctuary operated by DNR. It is the wintering ground for several thousand Canada geese, the largest concentration on the western shore of the Chesapeake Bay, in addition to being a natural environment for a wide variety of birds and mammals. The spectacular view from the Visitors Center can bring to mind a phrase of which Frank was so fond: “It’s not about how many breaths we take; rather it’s the moments that take our breath away.”

DNR placed temporary signage on the Visitors Center building in anticipation of a restoration of the exterior in 2012. The BPW approved the naming of the Frank Oslislo Visitors Center at Merkle Wildlife Sanctuary in early September.

   November 9, 2010

Contact: Josh Davidsburg
410-260-8002 office I 410-507-7526 cell

The Maryland Department of Natural Resources (DNR), which is celebrating its 40th anniversary this year, is the state agency responsible for providing natural and living resource-related services to citizens and visitors. DNR manages more than 461,000 acres of public lands and 17,000 miles of waterways, along with Maryland's forests, fisheries, and wildlife for maximum environmental, economic and quality of life benefits. A national leader in land conservation, DNR-managed parks and natural, historic, and cultural resources attract 12 million visitors annually. DNR is the lead agency in Maryland's effort to restore the Chesapeake Bay, the state's number one environmental priority. Learn more at