Release Date: 10/24/2006

The Louisiana Wildlife Federation (LWF) is now accepting nominations for the 43rd Governor's State Conservation Achievement Awards.  The program recognizes those persons and organizations that make outstanding contributions to the natural resource welfare and environmental quality of the community, parish and state.  There are eight award categories for which nominations can be made.  They are: professional; volunteer; business; educator; youth; elected official; communications and organization.

The awards themselves, handsome statuettes of majestic wild animals, are unique to the program and highly coveted by all who receive them.

According to Terry L. Melancon, LWF president, "For over 40 years the federation's annual conservation awards program has recognized those individuals, organizations and businesses who have gone 'above and beyond' in their efforts to conserve fish and wildlife resources, to enhance opportunities for all of our citizens to enjoy the outdoors, to improve the quality of the environment, and to educate and advocate on behalf of our natural resources here in Louisiana.  Thanks to the participation of hundreds of Louisiana citizens who have, over the years, encouraged good conservation work by submitting nominations to the program, these awards are widely acclaimed as the most prestigious recognitions of conservation accomplishment that are presented annually in our state." 

Melancon noted that, in keeping with tradition, the governor has endorsed the program.  He encouraged the public to make nominations.

Nominations are now open and will be accepted until Feb. 6, 2007.  Nominations should be based primarily on accomplishments in 2006.  The awards will be presented on March 3 at a special banquet held in conjunction with the 68th annual convention of the Louisiana Wildlife Federation at the Holiday Inn in Gonzales.  An awards program brochure with nomination form is available by contacting the LWF office at 225-344-6707 or can be downloaded from the LWF's Web site at

Last year's honorees were -

B. E. M. "Ben" Skerrett, III, Lafayette businessman and icon in the decades-long effort to preserve the Atchafalaya Basin was honored posthumously.  Skerrett was cited for his passion to preserve the Atchafalaya Basin, and particularly, his efforts to implement the Buffalo Cove Water Management Unit as a means of restoring the water quality and productivity to that popular Basin fishing ground.  The groundbreaking for the project was Dec. 2, only a few short weeks after his death;

Noel W. Kinler of New Iberia, Biologist Program Manager, Fur & Refuge Division of the Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries, for leading the state's alligator management program and maintaining its status as one of the top wildlife conservation programs in the world;

Thad Bellow of St. Amant for mentoring youth of the community in hunter education, serving as Greenwing and Jakes Chairman of the local Ducks Unlimited and National Wild Turkey Federation chapters and providing leadership and service to the East Ascension Sportsman's League;

Kellon Lee of St. Joseph for stepping up to help wildlife battered by the hurricanes;

Architecture + of Monroe for volunteering architectural services for the development of the Conservation Learning Center at Black Bayou Lake National Wildlife Refuge;

Rex H. Caffey, PhD of Baton Rouge, Director and Associate Professor, Center for Natural Resource Economics and Policy, LSU Department of Agricultural Economics and Agribusiness, for helping citizens to understand the opportunities and realities of coastal land loss and restoration;

Louisiana District 60 Representative Karen St. Germain of Pierre Part for providing key support for projects to improve the water quality and fisheries productivity of the Atchafalaya Basin;

C. C. Lockwood of Baton Rouge for informing the public through his photography and writings of the crisis of coastal land loss, and particularly for his "Marsh Mission" project and subsequent publication of Marsh Mission - Capturing the Vanishing Wetlands, a collaboration between photographer Lockwood and painter Rhea Gary, depicting dramatic images of Louisiana's fading coast;

Ducks Unlimited for its commitment to enhancing waterfowl habitat and restoring Louisiana's wetlands, particularly along the coast where it commenced or completed three projects last year that will restore or improve the quality of almost 50,000 acres of wetland habitat.

Complete write-ups of the accomplishments of these honorees are posted on the LWF Web site and may be consulted by those who wish to have examples of the kind of work that is worthy of recognition through this awards program.

The Louisiana Wildlife Federation is a statewide conservation education and advocacy organization with over 10,000 members and 25 affiliate groups.  Established in 1940, it is affiliated with the National Wildlife Federation and represents a broad constituency of conservationists including hunters, fishers, campers, birders, boaters, and other outdoor enthusiasts.

For more information, contact Adam Einck at 225-765-2465 or