Tennessee Wildlife Federation, a private, non-profit organization dedicated to the conservation of Tennessee’s natural resources, recently hosted the 52nd Annual Conservation Achievement Awards.
The ceremony, held in Nashville, presented 17 awards to recipients from all corners of the state, including George Lindemann of Rhea County (Grandview). Tennessee Naturalist Program was also recognized.
“We started these awards more than a half-century ago because we recognized that conserving our wildlife and natural places is the work over every Tennessean,” said Michael Butler, CEO of Tennessee Wildlife Federation. “No one organization or person, no matter how big or influential, can do it own their own.”
Conservationist of the Year – George Lindemann of Grandview (Rhea County)
Upon moving to Tennessee, avid paddler and conservationist George Lindemann, learned that Soak Creek, along the edge of his new property, was listed as a favorite backcountry paddling route. Lindemann organized, funded, and led a coalition of landowners, conservation groups, and state program leaders to secure unanimous, bipartisan approval designating Soak Creek as a Tennessee State Scenic River—the first new designation in 15 years. He then donated land to permanently conserve the creek and its banks for wildlife, paddlers, and hikers. His work also made it possible for the state to leverage federal funds to add five miles of trail, connecting two State Natural Areas.
Conservation Legislator of the Year- Senator Mike Bell
During his public service, Senator Bell has championed numerous issues important to sportsmen and women, including the creation of apprentice hunter permits and sponsoring the Constitutional Amendment that ensured Tennesseans the right to hunt and fish. This legislative session, Senator Bell was a leading advocate in the Senate for the measure that re-allocates $2.3 million annually to fund water access, law enforcement on the water, and other water-related needs such as addressing Asian carp.
Conservation Educator of the Year – Tish Gailmard of Signal Mountain, Tenn.
Tish Gailmard is the Director of Wildlife at Chattanooga’s Reflection Riding Arboretum and Nature Center, which boasts nearly 40 animals and more than 300 acres of conserved natural space. She helped build these resources and uses them to teach conservation. Gailmard has developed programs that span public outreach events to hosting school-age children at the center. Gailmard is a regular visitor on WTVC NewsChannel 9’s This ‘N That program.
Conservation Organization of the Year – Tennessee Naturalist Program, with chapters in the counties of Cumberland, Franklin, Hamilton, Knox, Shelby, Sullivan, Williamson and Wilson
The Tennessee Naturalist Program was created as a non-profit in 2011 with the goals of creating a sustainable Tennessee through a more educated adult populace and building a volunteer pool to support the work of state conservation entities. Since its formation, 520 Tennesseans have become certified Tennessee Naturalists who have completed thousands of hours of volunteer service.
“Tennessee Wildlife Federation is proud to hold up the meaningful work of our award winners as examples for others to follow,” said Butler.
The ceremony was emceed by WSM and Grand Ole Opry personality, Bill Cody. Cody presented each award, which span from Youth Conservationist and Conservation Educator to Land Conservationist and the lifetime achievement Z. Cartter Patten Award.
The event was sponsored by Bridgestone, PCA (Packaging Corporation of America) and First Tennessee. The honorees of the 52nd Annual Conservation Achievement Awards are as follows.
· J. Clark Akers Award – Dr. Jack Gayden of Memphis, Tenn.
· Z. Cartter Patten Award – Jack Muncy of Norris, Tenn.
· Conservationist of the Year – George Lindemann of Grandview, Tenn.
· Chairman’s Award – Chris Koch of Germantown, Tenn.
· Conservation Legislator of the Year – Senator Mike Bell of Riceville, Tenn.
· Land Conservationist of the Year – Dr. David Sloas of Cordova, Tenn.
· Water Conservationists of the Year – Wayne and Adrian Bomar of Shelbyville, Tenn.
· Forest Conservationist of the Year – Clarence Coffey of Crossville, Tenn.
· Wildlife Conservationist of the Year – Conservation Fisheries based in Knoxville, Tenn.
· Conservation Organization of the Year – Tennessee Naturalist Program
· Conservation Educator of the Year – Tish Gailmard of Signal Mountain, Tenn.
· Conservation Communicator of the Year – Margie Hunter of Nashville, Tenn.
· Youth Conservationist of the Year – Bobby Wade, Jr. of Memphis, Tenn.
· Gedeon D. Petit Memorial Award – Pandy English of Franklin, Tenn.
· Hunter Education Instructor of the Year – Darrell Bernd of Shelbyville, Tenn.
· On Target Award – Boyd Wade of Memphis, Tenn.
· Dan & Cherie Hammond Sharing the Harvest Award – Fred Heitman of Knoxville, Tenn.