The 53rd Governor’s State Conservation Achievement Awards Program, hosted by Louisiana Wildlife Federation (LWF), celebrated five individuals, an organization and a corporation, for their outstanding achievement in natural resource conservation and outdoor recreation enhancement in 2016 at a banquet held on Saturday, March 18, 2017 at Boudreaux’s in Baton Rouge.

Watch the banquet highlights here:

Dr. Paul Coreil, retired Interim Chancellor of LSU of Alexandria and past Vice Chancellor of the LSU Agricultural Center and Director of the Louisiana Cooperative Extension Service, served as master of ceremonies. National Wildlife Federation board member Mary Van Kerrebrook presented each award along with Secretary Jack Montoucet of the Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries (LDWF) representing Governor John Bel Edwards.


(Group photo: Secretary Jack Montoucet; Tim Allen, Apache Corporation; Darren Boudreaux and Kyle Bennett, QDMA – Louisiana State Chapter; Tegan Wendland; Theryn Henkel; Ronald P. Coco; Connor Arthur; Nicholas Guillot.)

The 2016 recipients celebrated at the banquet include:

Apache Corporation – Governor’s Award, Conservationist of the Year for 2016

Apache Corporation’s Tree Grant Program has donated 4 million trees since 2005, including 2 million trees to Louisiana-based charities and agencies. The company’s consistent support through the years has resulted in thousands of acres of bottomland hardwood habitat restoration in Louisiana. In 2016 alone, Apache Corporation’s Tree Grant Program donated trees to the Terrebonne Parish Tree Board, the city of New Orleans’ NOLA Tree Project, the Baton Rouge Recreation and Park Commission, and the University of Louisiana at Lafayette. Tree seedlings were donated to restore wildlife habitat in St. Landry, Avoyelles and Catahoula Parishes in cooperation with the US Fish and Wildlife Service. Apache’s Trees for Tots program donates a tree in honor of each child born or adopted by an Apache employee. Apache has been active in several projects to enhance the number and quality of coastal wetlands over the 250,000 plus acres of land they own in Louisiana. Apache has been a contributor to rigs-to-reefs projects that enhance recreational fishing in Louisiana’s coastal waters. Tim Allen accepted the award on their behalf.

Theryn K. Henkel, PhD – Professional Conservationist of the Year for 2016

Dr. Theryn Henkel is Assistant Director for the Coastal Sustainability Program at the Lake Pontchartrain Basin Foundation. She has worked on projects that investigate the latent effects of river diversions, wetland loss, reforestation, and the development of wetlands in urban areas. She has organized the Foundation’s forest restoration program for several years and her work has increased cypress survival rates to 87%. Dr Henkel served as project manager for the 2016 Wastewater Assimilation Workshop, which advanced discussion of the policy and science on wetland assimilation in Louisiana.

Ronald Coco – Volunteer Conservationist of the Year for 2016

Through his years of volunteering as an instructor with the Hunter Education program at the Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries, Ronald has engaged thousands of students and received several awards. In 2016 he also volunteered with National Hunting and Fishing Day; the Archery in Louisiana Schools program in Avoyelles Parish and with the state tournament; the Department of Wildlife and Fisheries’ Kids Summer Fishing Camp and the Grant Parish Fishing Clinic. He is president of Operation Game Thief and previously served as a board member for Louisiana Wildlife Federation and for Avoyelles Wildlife Federation.

Connor Patrick Arthur – Youth Conservationist of the Year for 2016

Connor Patrick Arthur is a junior at Hornbeck High School in Vernon Parish and a member of the Sabine Parish 4-H Shooting Sports Club. In 2016 he taught Hunter’s Safety to 30 high school junior leaders, and taught a fishing lesson to 400 youth at Louisiana 4-H Jr. Leadership Camp. Last year, Connor led a “Wildlife of Louisiana” session for 450 elementary students at the Zwolle Tamale Fiesta. He taught wildlife identification to 30 pre-school children at an afterschool program, and again to 200 junior and high school students at the Sabine Parish Spring Fling. He is a Shooting Sports Ambassador for the Louisiana 4-H Shooting Sports Board, a member of Hornbeck FFA, Ducks Unlimited, Friends of Hodges Gardens and the NRA. Last year, he was sophomore class president, and participated in the District Literary Rally in Agriculture II. He also assisted Hunters Enriching the Lives of People and the Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries with an annual hunt for handicapped individuals at the Sabine WMA.

Barry Guillot – Conservation Educator of the Year for 2016

Barry Guillot is an eighth grade science teacher at Harry Hurst Middle School in St. Charles Parish. He is also the founder and coordinator of the nationally recognized LaBranche Wetland Watchers, a school-based, service-learning program that has educated more than 40,000 students about the importance of Louisiana’s wetlands. In 2016 the project was expanded to include a wide array of student volunteers from 10 different public and private schools for yearly outreach events. Wetland Watchers planted 600 trees in the LaBranche Wetlands, and more than 600 students attended wetland field trips. He also served as the St. Charles Parish coordinator for the 2016 International Coastal Cleanup. Accepting the award on Barry Guillot’s behalf was his son, Nicholas Guillot.

Tegan Wendland – Conservation Communicator of the Year for 2016

In 2016, Tegan Wendland reported and produced more than 30 news pieces as lead reporter on WWNO’s Coastal Desk. Many news pieces were picked up by national radio and aired to millions of listeners. Her stories focused on coastal restoration, sea level rise and land loss, impacts on fisheries, and how people have responded to flooding and storms in Louisiana. Her colleagues describe her news pieces as finding the interesting angle in a story and making technical subjects accessible to draw in listeners who might otherwise tune out environmental reporting.

QDMA – Louisiana State Chapter, Conservation Organization of the Year – 2016

Quality Deer Management Association (QDMA) –  Louisiana State Chapter raised funds to support wildlife research projects, youth and handicapped activities, and archery in school programs. The chapter addressed the threat of chronic wasting disease that is 100% fatal to cervids by helping educate and organize official and public support for the Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries’ proposed deer carcass importation ban. The chapter raised funds to support research studies in Louisiana monitoring buck movement, fawn recruitment and predation. The chapter addressed the threat of the growing feral hog population in Louisiana by working to establish the Feral Hog Task Force in 2016, and raising funds for research at LSU on a feral hog toxicant. The chapter purchased and donated moveable, handicapped-accessible deer stands and motorized tracked wheelchairs to help people with handicaps regain access to the outdoors. The award was accepted by Kyle Bennett and Darren Boudreaux.

The awards are presented jointly by Louisiana Wildlife Federation and the National Wildlife Federation and the program is endorsed by Governor Edwards. The selections were made from among nominations submitted from the public by a panel of independent judges with expertise in a wide range of conservation fields. Photos by Dorella Milligan. High resolution photos available by request to

53rd Governor’s Conservation Achievement Awards Banquet Sponsors

Whooping Crane Signature Sponsor

Golden Ranch Farms, LLC


Black Bear

Shell Pipeline

Whitetail Deer

Land Trust for Louisiana

Van Kerrebrook & Associates P.C.

Speckled Trout

Marsh Dog

T. Baker Smith

Barney & Donna Callahan

Ryan & Kaima Schaefer

Warren & Jodie Singer

Bob & Norma Stewart

Andrew Walters

Great Blue Heron

East Ascension Sportsman League

Rapides Wildlife Association

Clint & Virginia Mouser

Edgar Veillon

Event broadcast underwritten by LWF Life Members Russ and Sandra Herman

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