True Wildlife Champions: 2018’s National Conservation Award Recipients



Tennessee Wildlife Federation

Affiliate of the Year

Michelle Blair, Mississippi Wildlife Federation

Affiliate Volunteer of the Year

Dakin Hewlett, Delaware Nature Society

Young Leader

Kathy Stephens, South Carolina Wildlife Federation

Conservation Leadership

Dave Chadwick, Montana Wildlife Federation

Charlie Shaw Conservation Partnership – Affiliate

Tiffany Woods, National Wildlife Federation

Charlie Shaw Conservation Partnership – NWF Staff



Recognizing a National Wildlife Federation affiliate organization for conservation accomplishments and contributions to collaborative efforts across the Federation.

Tennessee Wildlife Federation

Tennessee Wildlife Federation (TWF) was founded in the 1940s to support natural resource conservation in the state, resulting in the formation of the Tennessee Game and Fish Commission. With this early victory, the Federation began its unwavering advocacy for the state’s wildlife and the natural places in which they thrive. The organization has since championed public policy affecting Tennessee’s great outdoors in both sweeping and nuanced ways—from science-based resource management to the 2012 adoption of an amendment to the Constitution of Tennessee enshrining citizens’ right to hunt and fish. During the last 20 years, Tennessee Wildlife Federation has broadened its conservation efforts to include stewardship and youth engagement programs, ensuring that the organization’s achievements can be enjoyed and sustained by future generations. These include its Tennessee Scholastic Clay Target Program and Youth Hunting & Fishing Program that introduce outdoor sports to kids and engage young conservationists. TWF took on and grew a Hunters for the Hungry program that provides donated venison to local food banks and soup kitchens and created a Habitat Conservation program that actively conserves and restores forests, fields, wetlands, rivers, and streams for generations to come. As a leader at the state and federal level, Tennessee Wildlife Federation’s accomplishments are many and include helping return signature species such as the bald eagle, river otter, and elk to the Tennessee ecosystem; stopping the channelization of streams and rivers by the Army Corps of Engineers through a landmark legal case; engaging thousands of youth each year in the outdoors; conserving and restoring more than 13,000 acres of land; and working for the passage of state conservation bills on everything from wildlife funding to the protection of the state’s waterways and wildlife.

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Credit: Tennessee Wildlife Federation


Recognizing an outstanding National Wildlife Federation affiliate volunteer who gives their time, talents, and service to support the conservation efforts of the Federation.

Michelle Blair, Mississippi Wildlife Federation

Michelle has always loved the outdoors. From hunting and fishing, to kayaking and hiking, she is passionate about the environment and protecting our natural resources. Michelle’s love for paddlesports and water conservation are what led to her involvement with the Mississippi Wildlife Federation (MWF). In 2013, Michelle approached MWF with a unique idea to raise awareness about the importance of clean water in the Jackson metro area—the Gator Bait Kayak Race series. The Gator Bait, a 5-mile kayak race for adults, and the Gator Bait Hatchling, geared toward kids ages 5-13, connect people to their local water resources in a fun way, while providing a platform for education about clean water for drinking, animal habitat, and recreation, and promoting individual responsibility for clean waterways. Both races are held on the Ross Barnett Reservoir which also provides drinking water for the Jackson, MS area. Along with her crew of 11 volunteers, Michelle has spent countless hours over the past 4 years organizing each detail of the races and soliciting donors and sponsors. The races have drawn participants from 9 neighboring states (Alabama, Arkansas, Georgia, Florida, Louisiana, Maryland, South Carolina, Tennessee, and Virginia) and have reached over 300 adults and 440 youth about the need for water conservation, education, and pollution protection. 

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Recognizes the special conservation achievements of a young person who has worked to inspire change.

Dakin Hewlett, Delaware Nature Society

Dakin Hewlett is the Watershed Education Coordinator for Delaware Nature Society (DNS) at the DuPont Environmental Education Center (DEEC), where she engages the local community to help them better understand their connection to the local watersheds and guide them toward conservation actions that help water quality and wildlife, including the osprey that now frequent the riverfront. 

Dakin joined DNS as its first Delaware River Watershed Fellow for the Alliance for Watershed Education of the Delaware River, an alliance of 23 centers from Pennsylvania, New Jersey, and Delaware. Seeing an opportunity to connect the DEEC with an adjacent urban audience in Wilmington, Dakin spearheaded DNS’ Nature Mobile which brought the engagement tools of the DEEC to the people on the riverwalk and its associated stores. Her creativity, educational skills, and drive helped to connect the riverwalk to the DEEC and has created a new linkage to wildlife and water community advocates. An avid writer with degrees in English and History from West Chester University, Dakin also uses her writing and blogging skills to passionately advocate for open spaces and wildlife, previously for Sierra Magazine and the Alliance for Watershed Education. Dakin’s appreciation for wildlife and nature was instilled in her while hiking parts of the Appalachian Trail.

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Recognizes sustained conservation commitment and leadership.

Katherine Stephens, South Carolina Wildlife Federation

Dr. Katherine Stephens is a South Carolina native and longtime South Carolina Wildlife Federation (SCWF) member whose professional career comprises 40 years of experience in healthcare administration, education, and leadership. A SCWF Board member from 2004-2015, Kathy was a leader in the formation of the South Carolina Camo Coalition in 2008, an organization representing hunting and fishing conservation groups that has worked to secure continued funding of the South Carolina Conservation Bank, a legislative organization that identifies, protects, and preserves properties in South Carolina, thereby conserving significant habitat.  In November 2010, SCWF and the Camo Coalition led the efforts to pass the approval of an amendment to the South Carolina constitution establishing hunting and fishing as a constitutional right. Kathy has provided testimony to the South Carolina Department of Natural Resources on behalf of SCWF and has been a key board and Camo Coalition representative in advocacy activities at the South Carolina General Assembly, speaking with legislators about the Conservation Bank, clean water bills, and appropriate funding for the Department of Natural Resources and Forestry Commission. As a professional woman with a doctoral degree and avid hunter and outdoorswoman, Kathy is a role model to others, demonstrating that there is diversity in those who, like her, enjoy traditional outdoor activities like hiking, backpacking, hunting, fishing, and kayaking.

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Recognizing individuals who have demonstrated a true appreciation for the value and potential of the NWF-affiliate partnership. This award is given to a volunteer or staff member from an affiliate organization and an NWF staff member. 

Dave Chadwick, Montana Wildlife Federation

Dave Chadwick is the Executive Director of the Montana Wildlife Federation (MWF). Since he joined MWF in 2013, Dave has nearly doubled their budget and staff and has been revamping the board to include a broader set of constituencies and skillsets. Dave leads MWF with an emphasis on partnerships and collaboration, demonstrated in his commitment to build the capacity of their affiliate organizations, as well as to grow relationships with new and old partners, ranging from Trout Unlimited to the Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation to Montana Audubon and the Montana Wilderness Association. 

He has led MWF to organize a coalition of the state’s 12 major hunting and angling organizations and has reopened lines of communication with many interest groups across the political spectrum. Dave organizes a monthly call of executive directors of affiliates in the Rocky Mountain region and has helped with numerous policy and organizational initiatives for the Federation. Through Dave’s leadership, MWF has deepened its partnership with the National Wildlife Federation on campaigns such as climate change, wildlife funding, clean water, public lands, and sage grouse issues, as well as in a number of other ways. He played a key role in ensuring that the voice of affiliates was included in the National Wildlife Federation’s Strategic Plan and is an advocate for One Federation, serving as co-chair of the Conservation Funding caucus and member of the One Federation Advisory Board. Originally from South Dakota, Dave has lived in Washington DC, Minnesota, Colorado, and Montana. Dave has 20 years of experience in the public and nonprofit sectors, focused largely on conservation issues. His background includes several years on Capitol Hill, both as staff for a U.S. Senator and as a lobbyist for the Association of Fish and Wildlife Agencies. Dave has extensive training and experience in collaboration and consensus-building, and is an avid angler and bird hunter.

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Tiffany Woods, National Wildlife Federation

Tiffany Woods, Manager of Southeast Forestry, began her professional career at the National Wildlife Federation (NWF) in 2012 and currently leads the Southeast Forestry Program working from the Atlanta, Georgia regional office. Tiffany’s program centers on working with affiliates to improve forest management practices and wildlife habitat on private lands, and she is a part of the team that restored thousands of acres of longleaf pine on private lands alongside the Alabama Wildlife Federation. Prior to her work at NWF, Tiffany worked for the University of Georgia’s Study Abroad Program which focused on sustainability and environmental tourism in New Zealand, Australia, and Antarctica. Tiffany has a Master’s of Science degree from the Warnell School of Forestry & Natural Resources and an undergraduate degree from the College of Agriculture and Environmental Sciences, both from the University of Georgia. A small landowner herself, Tiffany enjoys her time spent outdoors especially deer hunting, hiking, fishing and kayaking. Additionally, Tiffany is an endurance sports athlete, having completed two Ironman races and multiple marathons and half-Ironman races. Tiffany’s greatest influences in forestry, farming and wildlife go back to her family roots in Watkinsville, Georgia, where her father and uncle taught her to hunt and fish and to also understand the importance of forestry and wildlife conservation.

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Make a National Wildlife Federation Annual Meeting Award Nomination!

These prestigious awards are given each year to the staff and volunteers of our affiliate organizations. Recipients of these awards have:

  • Benefited wildlife, natural resource conservation or environmental protection
  • Served as an example and inspiration to others

Visit our website for more information about the Annual Meeting Awards and to submit a nomination. Questions about National Wildlife Federation Annual Meeting Awards may be directed to