Louisiana Wildlife Federation will be presenting conservation awards to four individuals, two organizations and one business in recognition of outstanding contributions in 2019 toward the protection, wise use and enjoyment of Louisiana’s natural resources from among nominees submitted by the public.
The selection for these seven awards was made by a panel of independent judges with expertise in a wide range of conservation fields. The 56th Annual Conservation Achievement Awards program is hosted by Louisiana Wildlife Federation and the awards are presented jointly with National Wildlife Federation.
The awards, wildlife statuettes that are unique to the program, will be presented to the recipients in an outdoor setting with social distancing protocols in place.
The following award recipients were selected:
Giant Salvinia Control Patrol for Conservation Organization of the Year 2019 to be presented in New Orleans on September 27, 2020 – for organizing a community effort in 2019 to remove the invasive species Giant Salvinia from Bayou St John by mobilizing 300 volunteers who removed 10 tons of Giant Salvinia by hand or helped quarantine other sections of the bayou for further removal with a safer herbicide. The volunteers also hired an amphibious machine to remove 50 tons of Giant Salvinia and 90% of the material removed was composted in a partnership with the City of New Orleans and Compost NOW!.
Wendy Rihner for Conservation Educator of the Year 2019 to be presented in New Orleans on September 27, 2020 – for launching the Native Plants for Birds education campaign with Orleans Audubon Society to teach individuals how to create backyard habitats for wildlife. In 2019 she made numerous presentations to hundreds of people in the New Orleans and Baton Rouge area. She also taught bird identification training programs and citizen science workshops throughout 2019 and led a birding team that won the national 2019 Golden Bird Award. Rihner is a retired Delgado Community College English Instructor who continues to educate others by sharing her lifelong passion for birding. View Wendy on “Get Your Garden Ready” on Fox 8 News: https://www.fox8live.com/video/2019/08/05/get-your-garden-ready-migratory-birds/
Ryan Lambert for Volunteer Conservationist of the Year 2019 to be presented in Luling on October 2, 2020 – for his activism in support of coastal restoration in Louisiana by hosting numerous meetings and wetland tours to educate local and national media, and state and national leaders for more than a decade. As owner of Cajun Fishing Adventures, Captain Lambert offers his experience working daily in the coastal wetlands of Plaquemines Parish but goes far beyond by volunteering with several organizations to educate sportsmen and women about restoring Louisiana’s coast. He has been featured in numerous media stories, including the documentaries “Last Call for the Bayou” and “In the Blind” and is an active partner in creating a wetland restoration project at Bay Denesse that is expected to restore 2,550 acres of marsh.
Emma Reid for Conservation Communicator of the Year 2019 to be presented in Baton Rouge on September 28, 2020 – for writing and producing the documentary “In the Blind” that explores how duck hunters in Louisiana have undertaken conservation efforts to preserve and restore the state’s coastal and marsh habitats that support critical wintering ground for migratory waterfowl in the Mississippi Flyway. Reid captures the rich traditions of hunting and the important role hunters play in conservation of wildlife and their habitats, as both the popularity of hunting and the condition of Louisiana’s coastal ecosystem declines. Reid is a native of Minnesota who came to Louisiana to study environmental science at Loyola University and embraced duck hunting.
Eric Vanbergen for Youth Conservationist of the Year 2019 to be presented in Baton Rouge on September 28, 2020 – for his leadership in promoting native plant and coastal prairie restoration at his school, Ascension High School in Youngsville, where in 2017 he led a volunteer effort to plant a three acre prairie. Vanbergen worked with mentors, teachers and other students in 2019 to establish another smaller, relatable prairie planting within the school building complex that has become a shining example of what can be achieved using native prairie plants in a designated garden. Vanbergen formed the Ascension High School Prairie Club that is still active today. He is currently a freshman at LSU studying landscape architecture.
Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries Archery in Louisiana Schools (ALAS) Program for Youth Conservation Organization of the Year 2019 to be presented in Minden on September 30, 2020 – for teaching nearly 23,000 Louisiana students from more than 200 schools across the state the inclusive sport of Olympic archery, which helps students develop self-discipline, a sense of accomplishment and belonging, and offers an introduction to hunting and shooting sports. The program offered $20,500 in scholarships to 16 tournament winners and promoted academic achievement. Hundreds of Louisiana archers competed at the National and Open Championship tournaments in 2019 with Louisiana school teams finishing in the top three in each competition.
Edison Chouest Offshore for Corporate Conservationist of the Year 2019 to be presented at Port Fourchon on October 6, 2020 – for partnering with Entergy to install the first ever utility-scale shore power installation at Port Fourchon that offers a docking ship the ability to seamlessly transition from fossil fuel-generated ship power to cleaner electric grid power. The installation can accommodate 10 marine vessels at port to reduce carbon emissions from use of marine diesel by as much as 42%. This joint effort serves as a model that could be adopted around the world.
Sponsors of the 2019 Conservation Achievement Awards Program include Cenac Marine Services, LLC; Clifford and Allyn Dukes; Rapides Wildlife Association; Barney Callahan; Bob and Norma Stewart; and Clint and Virginia Mouser.
Louisiana Wildlife Federation is a statewide nonprofit organization representing a broad constituency of conservationists including hunters, anglers, campers, birders, boaters, hikers and other outdoor enthusiasts.