The Arkansas Wildlife Federation will honor the state's top conservationists at its annual Conservation Achievement Awards Banquet on Saturday at White Hall.
The event will be held at 5 p.m. at the James "Jitters" Morgan White Hall Community Center. The awards ceremony is the headline event, but the banquet also will include a silent and live auction, door prizes and food.
Honorees span the width of conservation efforts in The Natural State.
Ray Tucker of Little Rock will receive the Carol Griffee Conservation Communicator of the Year Award for outstanding conservation media work. Tucker is the founder and host of Ray Tucker's Arkansas Outdoors, a weekly radio program that airs Wednesdays from 7-8 p.m. on KABZ, 103.7-FM. The program features the top personalities and authorities in the Arkansas hunting, fishing and wildlife conservation world.
Martin Blaney of Russellville, who recently retired from the Arkansas Game and Fish Commission, will receive the Harold Alexander Conservationist of the Year Award. It is the AWF's highest honor, and it is presented to an individual for sustained and broadly significant conservation work.
Tom Bly, fisheries biologist for the Game and Fish Commission, will receive the Rex Hancock Wildlife Conservationist of the Year Award. It honors outstanding contributions to the management, enhancement and/or restoration of wildlife resources in Arkansas.
The late William Layher of Pine Bluff will receive posthumously the Water Conservationist of the Year Award. It honors outstanding contributions to the management, enhancement and/or restoration of fisheries resources or improvement of water quality in Arkansas.
Beau Saunders and Renee Saunders of Heber Springs, owners of Lobo Landing Resort on the Little Red River, will receive the Corporate Conservationist of the Year Award. It honors significant efforts by an Arkansas business toward environmental restoration or habitat/resource stewardship.
The Yell County Wildlife Federation will receive the Conservationist Organization of the Year Award for outstanding conservation achievement by a state or local organization.
Trent Whitehead, a Game and Fish Commission wildlife officer, is Conservation Educator of the Year for outstanding performance in conservation education by a professional or volunteer.
Katie Bennett of Heber Springs is Student Conservationist of the Year. The award goes to a young Arkansan who has demonstrated a personal commitment to conserving the state's resources.
Roland Barthlett of White Hall is Outdoor Mentor of the Year. The award is given to a person who shares time, knowledge and skills to support and advise others about the outdoors in a safe and encouraging way.
Sasha Bowles of the Arkansas Game and Fish Commission will receive the Boating Education Instructor of the Year Award, and Homer Lenderman will receive the Hunter Education Instructor of the Year Award.
Seating is limited, so buy tickets in advance online at arwild.org/events.
Outdoor Hall of Fame
Rex Nelson, one of the state's most recognizable voices, will emcee the Arkansas Game and Fish Foundation's 28th annual Outdoors Hall of Fame banquet and induction ceremony Aug. 24 at the Statehouse Convention Center.
Nelson -- author, columnist and senior editor for the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette -- is in the Arkansas Sportscasters and Sportswriters Hall of Fame. He served for almost a decade as the policy and communications director for Gov. Mike Huckabee, and he served for four years in the administration of President George W. Bush in the Delta Regional Authority.
Nelson is also a lifelong hunter and fisherman.
"My fondest memories are of quail hunting as a boy in Clark and Dallas counties," Nelson said. "I salute the commission for its efforts to bring back the bobwhite, which I view as one of the top priorities for at least the next decade. The commission and foundation are ensuring that younger Arkansans will continue to enjoy the outdoor benefits that I enjoyed as a boy growing up in this state."
Tickets for the banquet cost $125. Tables of 10 are available for $1,250 each. The night will include dinner, live and silent auctions, and induction ceremony. For more information, contact the Arkansas Game and Fish Foundation at (501) 223-6468 or email [email protected]
The event will begin at 6 p.m.
Sports on 07/25/2019