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Congratulating Conservation Heroes
Award Recipients to be Celebrated at Annual Meeting
As members of the National Wildlife Federation’s national, regional, and state affiliate offices come together for the Federation’s 80th Annual Meeting in Estes Park, CO to set the agenda for continued conservation success and growth, we will recognize individuals from across the nation who have made significant contributions to conservation in unique and inspiring ways — those who commit their time and energy not for the credit, but for the results. These Conservation Achievement Award honorees represent the best of the conservation ethic; they are a collection of diverse voices who work tirelessly for wildlife and wild places in big and small ways.
Learn a little bit more about their achievements and join us in congratulating their efforts:
AFFILIATE OF THE YEAR: ASSOCIATION OF NORTHWEST STEELHEADERS
One of the oldest conservation and fishing advocacy groups in the Pacific Northwest, the Association of Northwest Steelheaders (ANWS) achieves its goals through coalition building throughout the region. By leveraging shared goals to build working relationships with groups and individuals that are often on opposite sides of an issue, ANWS has amassed an impressive list of legislative wins over the past 40 years, and continues to innovate in its programs and services each day.
Read more about the Steelheaders in this profile.
AFFILIATE VOLUNTEER OF THE YEAR: ELLEN MCNULTY, PRESIDENT, ARKANSAS WILDLIFE FEDERATION
A native of Pine Bluff, Arkansas, Ellen McNulty developed a love of the land, water and wildlife while working on and managing her family farm. As volunteer President of AWF, McNulty is known for bringing together not only AWF members and affiliates, but key resource managers, watershed leaders, and sportsmen group leaders to reach tangible solutions for wildlife and communities.
Read more about AWF’s work under McNulty’s leadership.
NATIONAL CONSERVATION YOUTH LEADER AWARD: DANIEL ROMERO, TAOS, NM
Romero, a high school senior and stream ecology enthusiast, is an inspiration to those in his community and beyond. Through the New Mexico Wildlife Federation’s Conservation and Culture Youth Education program, Daniel has made efforts to evaluate changes in the geomorphology of rehabilitated sections of the Red River in Questa, NM, including designing a new method for reading and interpreting stream discharge data. These accomplishments are particularly significant for Romero due to his challenges with several learning disabilities, which he has worked to overcome with a personal philosophy that even though the path is difficult, our goals are attainable with hard work.
NATIONAL CONSERVATION LEADER AWARD: THOMAS B. EVANS, JR.
Over the past five decades, former U.S. Representative Thomas B. Evans, Jr. has created a conservation legacy that spans the country from Alaska to Florida. Upon leaving office, Evans continued to lobby former colleagues on critical wildlife issues – mostly on his own time and his own dime. In 2008, he joined the Florida Wildlife Federation (FWF) Board of Directors and continued to influence conservation efforts by promoting the benefits of important issues to wildlife habitats, public safety, and savings to American taxpayers. Evans has also served as an advisor to the National Wildlife Federation’s advocacy team in Washington, D.C. on a range of conservation policies.
NATIONAL CONSERVATION EDUCATION AWARD: JOSÉ GONZÁLEZ
José González is an experienced educator with an array of associated interests in the arts, education, conservation, and the environment, González is the founder of Latino Outdoors, a network of leaders committed to engaging Latinos in the outdoors, connecting families and youth with nature, and empowering their community of storytellers to explore and share their personal experiences. He fosters opportunities and collaborates with organizations seeking to diversify their outdoor and conservation programs. González often serves as a peer advisor to NWF California on topics related to urban community wildlife and diversity in the environment.
NATIONAL CONSERVATION ORGANIZATION AWARD: QUIXOTE FOUNDATION
Stuart Hanisch founded Quixote Foundation in the spirit of Don Quixote’s idealism, and the foundation’s support for environmental conservation started with its earliest grants. Convinced everyone has a stake in the environment and a personal interest in protecting its health, the Foundation has provided generous support to the National Wildlife Federation and its efforts recognizing diverse voices and viewpoints. Thanks to QF’s guidance and support, NWF has made tremendous strides toward becoming a multicultural organization that seeks out the rich dimensions of diversity such as race, ethnicity, gender identity, sexual orientation, socioeconomic status, age, physical abilities, religious and political beliefs.
NATIONAL CONSERVATION SPECIAL ACHIEVEMENT AWARD: THE NORTHERN CHEYENNE TRIBE
The Northern Cheyenne tribe has remained a steadfast defender of their homeland and its natural resources in southeastern Montana for generations. Over the last 40 years, the Tribe has repeatedly faced struggles to keep its coal in the ground and its air and water free of coal pollution as numerous companies have proposed power plants, coal mines, and coal transport construction within this pristine wilderness. All of these measures have failed, thanks to the Northern Cheyenne people and their allies standing up for wildlife, culture, community health, and the future.
NATIONAL CONSERVATION SPECIAL ACHIEVEMENT AWARD: SEAN GERRITY
Sean Gerrity, President of American Prairie Reserve and a National Geographic Fellow, is committed to wildlife conservation on a grand scale and is at the helm of the largest wildlife complex ever assembled in the continental United States that will one day encompass some 3.5 million acres of native grassland and wildlife habitat. Leading the American Prairie Reserve project has enabled Gerrity to combine his business skills with his passion for wildlife to leave an extraordinary, nature-based legacy for future generations. The Reserve is an important partner for NWF’s work on restoring bison to the Northern Great Plains.
CHARLIE SHAW CONSERVATION PARTNERSHIP AWARD: JANICE BEZANSON
Janice Bezanson’s talents and passions lead her to become the Executive Director of the Texas Conservation Alliance (TCA), an organization she began volunteering for the in early 1980s. The hallmark of her career has been organizing coalitions of often non-traditional allies to accomplish conservation achievements that others often said could not be done. In addition to her duties with TCA, Bezanson has been a leading member of the NWF community, working closely with the Federation on multiple projects, including guiding the Alliance as it became the Federation’s Texas affiliate partner.
CHARLIE SHAW CONSERVATION PARTNERSHIP AWARD: DON HOOPER
A cordial but indefatigable NWF fighter for 17 years, Don Hooper has battled for migrating wolves and elusive lynx, for peregrine falcons and bald eagles, for right whales and Atlantic salmon, for iconic moose and skittish piping plovers, for beleaguered black bears and his totem polar bear. He used his political influence in the Northeast to fight for charismatic mega-fauna out west, for bison habitat in the Rockies and the caribou of the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge. Hooper’s decades of work on behalf of wildlife, the climate, and the state of Vermont represent the true values of environmental conservation.
The honorees of the Conservation Achievement Awards will be celebrated on Saturday, June 18. Click the button above to learn more about the awards.