March 29, 2018 12:00 AM
(Baton Rouge, March 29, 2018)   The 54th Governor’s State Conservation Achievement Awards Program, hosted by Louisiana Wildlife Federation (LWF), celebrated three individuals and three organizations for their outstanding achievement in natural resource conservation and education in 2017 at a banquet held on Saturday, March 17, 2018 at Boudreaux’s in Baton Rouge.

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. LWF President Robert “Bob” Stewart presented each award along with Undersecretary Bryan McClinton of the Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries (LDWF) representing Governor John Bel Edwards.
The 2017 recipients celebrated at the banquet include:
Bren Haase – Governor’s Award, Conservationist of the Year for 2017

(Pictured left to right: Bryan McClinton; Robert “Bob” Stewart; Bren Haase)

Bren Haase, Division Chief of Planning and Research for the Coastal Protection and Restoration Authority, served as planning leader for a large multidisciplinary team of more than 250 scientists, engineers, and various stakeholders to produce the 2017 update to the State’s Coastal Master Plan. Haase earned high praise for his professionalism by demonstrating positive collegiality in his leadership and a remarkable ability to assimilate detailed technical information and input at every point of engagement that kept this complex planning process moving forward. He played a valuable role in creating a plan that puts Louisiana far ahead of other Gulf Coastal states in demonstrating how Louisiana plans to manage for restoration and protection.

Edward James Bodker – Volunteer Conservationist of the Year for 2017

(Pictured left to right: Bryan McClinton; Robert “Bob” Stewart; Edward Bodker)

Ed Bodker has spent years volunteering to advise the public and regulatory agencies about the problems associated with wetland assimilation projects and the application of secondarily treated sewage effluent on natural wetlands. He spent countless hours observing, recording, and explaining changes in the wetlands that were receiving municipal wastewater and his documentation proved crucial in evaluating impacts on these marshes and surrounding habitats.  He also engaged in community activism to increase public awareness of a proposed battery graphite manufacturing plant at the Port of Manchac.

Red River National Wildlife Refuge Youth Conservation Corps – Youth Conservationists of the Year for 2017

(Pictured left to right: Jonathan Aldama; Bryan McClinton; Robert “Bob” Stewart; Sage Beleau; Tyler Campbell; Shana Mullins)

The Youth Conservation Corps offers high school students the opportunity to develop leadership skills, conservation ethics, and natural resource management skills through a summer program. Jonathan Aldama, Katie Black, Sage Beleau and Tyler Campbell logged over 500 hours on invasive species management, bird banding, moist soil management, forest restoration and leading summer camps to 120 youth that attended the refuge’s summer camp.

Nova Clarke – Conservation Educator of the Year for 2017

(Pictured left to right: Bryan McClinton; Robert “Bob” Stewart; Nova Clarke)

Nova Clarke is recognized for her environmental education programming as park ranger at Black Bayou Lake National Wildlife Refuge and outreach work in the community, including working with volunteers to expand off-site educational programs that encourage non-traditional users to enjoy the Refuge. Her community outreach, environmental education, and wildlife interpretation, reached over 3,500 students in 2017.

Louisiana Public Square “Coastal Restoration: The Next Wave” produced by LPB – Conservation Communicator of the Year for 2017

(Pictured left to right: Bryan McClinton; Robert “Bob” Stewart; Kevin Gautreaux)

The Louisiana Public Square Program “Coastal Restoration: The Next Wave” produced by Louisiana Public Broadcasting (LPB) presented a discussion on diverse views about the final draft of the 2017 update to the State’s coastal master plan. The show offered LPB’s statewide viewers several perspectives on coastal restoration and the Master Plan so that the audience at home could make an informed decision if they chose to speak to their legislators about voting on the plan, which was coming before the Louisiana Legislature in 2017. The episode represents use of multiple media tools to inform the public and solicit public participation, on air and online. The show was produced by LPB’s Kevin Gautreaux.

SouthWings – Conservation Organization of the Year – 2017

(Pictured left to right: Bryan McClinton; Robert “Bob” Stewart; Emmet Bartholomew)

In 2017, SouthWings’ network of volunteers flew 60 flights in Louisiana in 2017 to help visually display the disappearing Mississippi River delta from the air and educate local and national decision makers, scientists, and media about the need for coastal restoration. SouthWings’ pilots also partnered with the Patuxent Wildlife Research Center in Maryland to transport endangered whooping crane chicks to Louisiana in 2016 and 2017 to aid in the Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries’ Whooping Crane project.

The banquet sponsors were Golden Ranch Farms, LLC; Shell Pipeline Company; Mary A. Van Kerrebrook; Barney Callahan; Crimson Gulf; Warren and Jodie Singer; Volks Constructors; Walters and Associates; Cancienne Law Firm; Delacroix Corp; East Ascension Sportsman League; Harlan Law Firm; Marsh Dog; Clint and Virginia Mouser; Rapides Wildlife Association; Daryl and Monica Rousse; Bob and Norma Stewart; and The Stewart Agency.

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 taken by Dorella Milligan. High-resolution photos are available by request

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