An Interview with Sam Daniel in the Tulsa World

02.13.14

At lunch Thursday at The Summit Club, local attorney, hunter and conservationist Sam P. Daniel reflected on times near to his heart, but a far cry from the elegance of the 31st floor of the Bank of America building.

"I can remember one of my first exposures to the critters. I always call them all 'the critters,' " he said. In 1940s Tulsa, Crow Creek carved out a cavelike cut in a steep bank where he and his young friends went to play. "We called it the red clay cliffs. ... After school we would take a skillet, matches and sticks and go down there and catch crawdads, pinch the tails off and fry 'em," he said. "The four of us were regular Huckleberry Finns."

Tonight it's Daniel, 81, who is going to get the roasting as he is feted at Southern Hills Country Club as the 24th recipient of the NatureWorks Wildlife Stewardship Award.

A respected family-law attorney and senior partner of Doerner, Saunders, Daniel and Anderson, he is a lifelong Tulsan and graduate of Cascia Hall who earned a degree in economics from Georgetown University and a law degree from the University of Oklahoma. On Monday, he will mark his 55th year practicing law in Tulsa, he said.

Retirement is not in the picture. "That will take care of itself," he said. "What's the saying? ... 'To keep on going you've got to keep on going.' "

After an aortic valve transplant this autumn he shows no signs of slowing down. "I went dove hunting and 10 days later went in for the procedure," he said. "I was back at work six weeks later."

Because of his recovery, he had to forego waterfowl hunting this year, his true passion, but he said he's healed now and thinking ahead already to next year. Tonight's event will focus on his outdoor passions and pursuits.

The stewardship award is presented to those in whose honor NatureWorks erects a larger-than-life bronze wildlife monument donated to the city each year. "Coyote Pups Singing Lesson," by sculptor Paul Ryhmer depicts a mother coyote teaching her four pups how to howl. It will be erected at Tulsa International Airport in May, but it will be on display March 1-2 during the annual NatureWorks Wildife Art Show fundraiser at the Renaissance Hotel.

In addition to hunting all over the world and having collected taxidermy mounts of all North American waterfowl game birds except the king eider (hunted only off the coast of Alaska), and most quail species, Daniel is a past president and 24-year board member of NatureWorks, past Chairman of the Board of Directors of the Sutton Avian Research Center, a life member of Ducks Unlimited and a Nature Conservancy trustee.

He speaks excitedly and at length about the research work on prairie grouse underway at Sutton and said he purely enjoyed his time as board chairman. "I probably learned more than I gave," he said. "But I gave 'em energy and a love of the outdoors and wildlife."

Strong personalities and passion for the cause are what get things done for wildlife, he said. "We have strong personalities and sometimes there is conflict, but we always work through our differences," he said.

Of his time working with non-profits and researchers, Daniel said selflessness and giving of time and resources with that love for the outdoors and wildlife is a common theme. The focus typically is on a hope for a better future, whether it is realized or not. "They are selfless and interested in what they're doing and they don't get any rewards for it usually not in this lifetime," he said.

Recognition as a wildlife steward with his name on a bronze leaves the attorney with a simple closing statement. "I'm delighted and flattered and grateful for the recognition," he said. "All three of those words describe how I'm feeling."

Kelly Bostian: Conservationist Sam P. Daniel Offers Another Lesson on Outdoors. Tulsa World February 13, 2014

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Rebecca D. Bullard

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Rebecca represents clients primarily in labor and employment
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