Awards honor conservation proponents

CorrespondentJuly 24, 2013 

The conservation community in North Carolina brings together countless professionals and volunteers with a diverse range of expertise and interests. Many go above and beyond for their causes.

On Monday, the N.C. Wildlife Federation revealed the conservation all-stars who will be honored at the 50th annual Governor’s Conservation Achievement Awards Reception and Banquet at 6 p.m. Sept. 7 at the Embassy Suites RTP in Cary.

Leading the list is Chapel Hill’s Dick Ludington, the Conservationist of the Year Award winner. He opened The Conservation Fund’s N.C. office and has helped preserve 209,114 acres.

Other honorees: Wildlife Conservationist: Jeffrey C. Beane, Raleigh, N.C. Museum of Natural Sciences herpetologist. Sportsman: Ramon N. Bell, Stokesdale, N.C. Bowhunters Association president. Land Conservationist: Tim Sweeney, Cary, Epic Games founder and CEO, purchased more than 12,000 acres to expand the Box Creek Wilderness in McDowell and Rutherford counties.

Water Conservationist: Ryke Longest, Durham, professor of water resources law and director of Duke University’s Environmental Law and Policy Clinic. Forest Conservationist: N.C. Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services Commissioner Steve Troxler, Browns Summit. Environmental Educator: J. Dan Pittillo, Sylva, retired Western Carolina biology professor. Conservation Communicator: Jay Erskine Leutze, Minneapolis, N.C., author of “Stand Up That Mountain: The Battle to Save One Small Community in the Wilderness Along the Appalachian Trail,” a book on efforts to stop an illegal mining operation.

Youth Conservationist: Grace Adkins, Fuquay-Varina, youth coordinator for the Cape Fear branch of the Quality Deer Management Association. Legislator: Rep. Ruth Samuelson, Charlotte. Municipal Conservationist: Town of Elkin. Wildlife Volunteer: David M. Pearson, Swansboro, Friends of N.C. State Parks president. Hunter Safety Education Organization: Pitt County Wildlife Club, Greenville. NCWF Chapter: Albemarle Conservation and Wildlife Chapter, Elizabeth City. NCWF Affiliate: N.C. Trout Unlimited. Natural Resources Agency: N.C. Wildlife Resources Commission, Operation Something Bruin, four-year poaching investigation in North Carolina and Georgia. Conservation Organization: Delta Waterfowl Foundation, N.C. chapters. Business Conservationist: The Fork Farm and Stables, founder Jim Cogdell, Norwood. Wildlife Enforcement Officer: Sgt. Chad Arnold, Mount Holly. Marine Fisheries Enforcement Officer: Chris Lee, Kill Devil Hills.

For banquet tickets, call 919-833-1923, or go to

Commission honors Bridges: Eddie Bridges, founder and volunteer executive director of the N.C. Wildlife Habitat Foundation, recently received one of the N.C. Wildlife Resources Commission’s top honors, the eighth Thomas L. Quay Wildlife Diversity Award. The award is named for a former N.C. State zoology professor. Bridges also received the Governor’s Order of the Long Leaf Pine for service to the state.

Black sea bass comment due: Public comment ends Aug. 1 on NOAA Fisheries’ proposed actions in Regulatory Amendment 19 to the Fishery Management Plan for the Snapper-Grouper Fishery. The proposed South Atlantic Region rule would increase the commercial and recreational annual catch limits and the recreational catch target for black sea bass. Go to and search for NOAA Regulatory Amendment 19.

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