54th Annual Conservation Achievement Awards honors Mars

Published 5:42 pm Tuesday, May 21, 2019

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NASHVILLE — Tennessee Wildlife Federation, one of the largest and oldest nonprofits dedicated to the conservation of Tennessee’s wildlife and natural resources, recently hosted its 54th Annual Conservation Achievement Awards.

The ceremony was held in Nashville and presented 17 awards to recipients from all corners of the state, including Sam Mars, III of Harrogate, Tenn.

“The diverse group of award winners today serves as a reminder that successful conservation will always depend on a diverse and collaborative effort,” said Michael Butler, CEO of the Federation. “Our honorees have conducted important field work, secured crucial support, educated the next generation, and so much more.”

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Chairman’s Award

Sam Mars, III of Harrogate, Tenn.

Sam Mars recently concluded 14 years of service on the Tennessee Wildlife Federation’s Board of Directors. During his tenure, Mars provided valuable guidance based on the challenges other nonprofits were facing. He also acted as an effective liaison to the National Wild Turkey Federation, including leveraging its grassroots network during Tennessee Wildlife Federation’s successful campaign to amend the Tennessee constitution to guarantee the right of citizens to hunt and fish.

WSM and Grand Ole Opry personality Bill Cody emceed the ceremony. Cody presented each award, which spanned from Youth Conservationist and Conservation Educator to Conservationist of the Year and the J. Clark Akers, III Champion of Conservation Award for many years of philanthropic service.

The event was sponsored by Bridgestone, BDY Natural Sciences Consultants, and the National Wildlife Federation.

The complete list of honorees of the 54th Annual Conservation Achievement Awards are as follows:

Conservationist of the Year – Dr. Shari Meghreblian of Franklin, Tenn.

Dr. John. O. “Jack” Gayden Leadership Award – Monty Halcomb of Wartrace, Tenn.

J. Clark Akers, III Champion of Conservation Award for years of service to the Federation – Jim and Jean Maddox of Nashville, Tenn.

Chairman’s Award – Sam Mars, III of Harrogate, Tenn.

Conservation Legislator of the Year – Congressman David Kustoff of Germantown, Tenn.

Wildlife Conservationist of the Year – Mary Jennings of Sparta, Tenn.

Land Conservationist of the Year – Ralph Knoll of The Conservation Fund from LaGrange, Ga.

Water Conservationists of the Year – Elaine Boyd of Hendersonville, Tenn.

Forest Conservationist of the Year – Austin Bibb of Munford, Tenn.

Conservation Organization of the Year – Tennessee B.A.S.S. Nation High School of Winchester, Tenn.

Conservation by Business – Genera Energy of Vonore, Tenn.

Conservation Educator of the Year – Dr. Jonathan Evans of Sewanee, Tenn.

Conservation Communicator of the Year – Dr. David Sloas of Cordova, Tenn.

Youth Conservationist of the Year – Cash Daniels of Chattanooga, Tenn.

On Target Award for outstanding support of the Tennessee Scholastic Clay Target Program – Lance Rider of McKenzie, Tenn.

Dan & Cherie Hammond Sharing the Harvest Award for outstanding support of Hunters for the Hungry – Larry Ross of Hickory Valley, Tenn.

Hunter Education Instructor of the Year – Gene Smith of Memphis, Tenn.