The outdoors community thrives in North Carolina because of a wide range of dedicated professionals, volunteers, organizations and agencies. The most outstanding among them are honored each year with Governor’s Conservation Achievement Awards.
Nominations for the 50th edition of the awards are due by July 1. Any individual, organization or agency may nominate conservation-minded individuals, organizations and government agencies.
“Each year, we are amazed at the commitment and creativity of North Carolina citizens in protecting wildlife and wild places,” Tim Gestwicki, CEO of the N.C. Wildlife Federation, said Tuesday. “Many of our award winners tell us their Governor’s Conservation Achievement Award represents the high point of their career – whether they are full-time scientists or full-time volunteer conservationists.”
A committee of scientists, conservation activists and environmental educators will select the state winners, who each will receive a statuette, a certificate and a lapel pin at a reception and banquet at 6 p.m. Sept. 7 at the Embassy Suites RTP, 201 Harrison Oaks Blvd., in Cary.
“This awards program brings together a remarkably diverse group of conservationists to highlight the good news about wildlife conservation in North Carolina,” Gestwicki said. “Our primary focus is to applaud and honor these people who work so hard for wildlife and the air, water and land that they and all of us depend upon.”
To learn more about the awards, download a nomination form, see a list of previous winners or learn about becoming a sponsor, go to www.ncwf.org/awards. To register for the reception and banquet, go to www.ncwf.org or call 919-833-1923.
Besides conservationist of the year, the awards honor a wildlife conservationist, legislator, sportsman, land conservationist, environmental educator, water conservationist, forest conservationist, youth conservationist, conservation communicator, conservation organization, municipal conservationist, business conservationist, hunter safety education instructor/organization, education organization, natural resources agency, N.C. Wildlife Federation chapter of the year and NCWF affiliate of the year.
Free fishing: Test North Carolina’s fishing waters for free on July 4. From 12:01 a.m. until 11:59 p.m., anyone can fish without a fishing license or additional trout fishing privilege.
The annual Independence Day fishing freebie, which started in 1994, is provided by the N.C. Wildlife Resources Commission in any public water, including coastal waters, so residents and visitors can try fishing without buying a license.
All other regulations, including size and creel limits and lure restrictions apply, so before fishing check the regulations at www.ncwildlife.org/fishing and http://portal.ncdenr.org/web/mf/recreationalfishing.
Some waters are stocked with trout or channel catfish. More than 500 locations open to the public can be found on an interactive fishing map at http://220.127.116.11/Fish- ingAreasMap/ and a boating map at http://18.104.22.168/mapbook/- boat access.aspx.
Should you like fishing and decide to buy a license, call the commission at 888-248-6834 seven days a week from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m.; go to www.ncwildlife.org; or visit a local Wildlife Service Agent http://22.214.171.124/Apps/Wildlife- ServiceAgent/Search.asp.
Build a fishing rod: A Basic Rod Building Course is scheduled for 9 a.m.-5 p.m. June 29 at the N.C. Wildlife Resources Commission’s John E. Pechmann Fishing Education Center on Raeford Road across from Lake Rim in Fayetteville.
Participants will build a 6-foot medium-action spinning rod from an IM6 blank. Tools and materials are provided. Advance registration is required.
Contact Thomas Carpenter at 910-868-5003, ext.15. Learn more at www.ncwildlife.org/learning.
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