BATON ROUGE - Apache Corporation has been selected to receive the Governor's Award - Conservationist of the Year for 2016 for its Apache Tree Grant Program, which has donated 4 million trees since 2005, including 2 million trees to Louisiana-based charities and agencies.
The award, a handsome statuette of a bald eagle, will be presented the evening of Saturday, March 18, 2017 at a festive banquet to be held at Boudreaux's in Baton Rouge. The public is invited to attend and can purchase banquet tickets online at lawildlifefed.org.
The Governor's Award is presented annually to the person, business or organization deemed to have made the most outstanding contribution toward the protection, wise use and enjoyment of Louisiana's natural resources among nominees submitted by the public. The selection for this and six other awards was made by a panel of independent judges with expertise in a wide range of conservation fields. The 53rd Annual Governor's State Conservation Achievement Awards program is hosted by the Louisiana Wildlife Federation and the awards are presented jointly with the National Wildlife Federation.
In 2016, Apache Corporation's Tree Grant Program donated trees to the Terrebonne Parish Tree Board, the city of New Orleans' NOLA Tree Project, Baton Rouge Recreation and Park Commission, and University of Louisiana at Lafayette. Apache Corporation also donated 250,000 native bottomland hardwood seedlings to continue habitat restoration efforts for Louisiana black bears in Louisiana and Texas. Because of multi-year tree donations from Apache Corporation, Black Bear Conservation Coalition's Landowner Assistance Program has restored nearly 5,000 acres of hardwood habitat for wildlife habitat.
Five individuals, and one other organization will also be recognized by the Louisiana Wildlife Federation for their outstanding conservation achievements in 2016. They are:
Theryn K. Henkel, Ph.D. of New Orleans - For her work as Assistant Director of Lake Pontchartrain Basin Foundation's Coastal Sustainability Program, particularly her leadership of the Wetland Forest Restoration Program and the Swamp Restoration Suitability Assessment for the Pontchartrain Basin, and producing the two-day Wastewater Assimilation Workshop in 2016.
Ronald P. Coco of Moreauville - For his volunteer work in 2016 and many previous years as a Hunter Education Volunteer with the Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries, and for volunteering for National Hunting and Fishing Day in Woodworth, Archery in Louisiana Schools program, Kids Summer Fishing Camp and Grant Parish Fishing Clinic.
Connor Patrick Arthur of Florien - For his youth volunteer work with 4-H as a shooting sports ambassador and leading a "Wildlife of Louisiana" session for 450 elementary students at Zwolle Tamale Fiesta, teaching wildlife identification lessons to pre-school children, teaching a hunter safety lesson to junior high school students, teaching a fishing lesson to 400 youth, and volunteering with Hunters Enriching the Lives of People (H.E.L.P).
Barry Guillot of Luling - For his work in founding and continuing to coordinate the nationally-recognized LaBranche Wetlands Watchers school-based service-learning program that hosts wetlands education programming annually for 1,200 fourth through eighth grade students, and for his leadership in environmental education as an eighth grade teacher at Harry Hurst Middle School.
Tegan Wendland of New Orleans - For her work as lead reporter for WWNO's Coastal Desk producing news and feature stories in 2016 that reported the complexity around the environmental and cultural impacts of Louisiana's coastal land loss and coastal restoration efforts.
Quality Deer Management Association, Louisiana State Chapter - For their work in 2016 in urging the Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries to implement a deer carcass import ban to prevent the spread of Chronic Wasting Disease into Louisiana; for their education and outreach effort to control impacts from the feral hog population in Louisiana that culminated in creating the Louisiana Feral Hog Management Task Force; and for coordinating local branches that provided enhanced hunting opportunities to handicapped deer hunters, funded deer research studies in Tensas National Refuge, and held numerous education events around the state.
Cenac Marine Services, LLC is the signature sponsor of this year's banquet and other sponsors include: Land Trust for Louisiana; Van Kerrebrook & Associates P.C.; Marsh Dog; T. Baker Smith; Barney & Donna Callahan; Ryan & Kaima Schaefer; Warren & Jodie Singer; Bob & Norma Stewart; Andrew Walters; East Ascension Sportsman's League; Rapides Wildlife Association; Clint & Virginia Mouser; and Edgar Veillon. Video production and broadcast of the banquet is underwritten by Russ and Sandra Herman.
The Louisiana Wildlife Federation is a statewide conservation education and advocacy organization. Established in 1940, it is affiliated with the National Wildlife Federation and represents a broad constituency of conservationists including hunters, anglers, campers, birders, boaters, and other outdoor enthusiasts. www.LaWildlifeFed.org.