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. That includes former TDEC commissioner Dr. Shari Meghreblian of Franklin, Jim and Jean Maddox of Nashville and Elaine Boyd of Hendersonville.
“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.”
Conservationist of the Year
Dr. Shari Meghreblian of Franklin, with work spanning the state
In her role as Deputy Commissioner of the Tennessee Department of Environment and Conservation, Meghreblian proposed the development of the first comprehensive and statewide water plan to safeguard the future of our water resources. The concept of TN H2O became a central part of Gov. Haslam’s administration and, ultimately, reflects the views and needs of Tennessee’s diverse regions and industries.
Today, Meghreblian owns Triple Edge Strategies, a consulting firm that advises public and private sector leaders about navigating the crossroads of energy, environment and the economy.
Dr. John O. “Jack” Gayden Leadership Award
Monty Halcomb of Wartrace
The leadership award recognizes many years of dedicated, effective and valuable service to the Federation. Halcomb diligently served on the Federation’s board of directors for 17 years. In that time, he vocally advocated for policies and procedures that proved to be essential for the organization’s growth and long-term stability.
Halcomb’s attention to detail and expertise made him an effective leader, not only for the Federation, but for several other conservation-minded groups, including the National Wildlife Federation, the Tennessee Environmental Council and the Land Conservation Assistance Network.
J.Clark Akers, III Champion of Conservation Award
Jim and Jean Maddox of Nashville and Houston County
Avid sportsmen, Jim and Jean Maddox share a love for the great outdoors and have full-heartedly supported it. T
his award is given to those who exemplify the philanthropic heart of conservation. They give personally and have regularly leveraged their connections to secure grants and introduce new donors to the cause of conservation in Tennessee. They are directly and indirectly responsible for significant investments in the Federation’s work.
Mr. and Mrs. Maddox also freely open their homes to host important events and have given their time, each serving terms on boards of the Federation.
Sam Mars III of Harrogate
Mars recently concluded 14 years of service on the Tennessee Wildlife Federation’s Board of Directors. During his tenure, he 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.
Water Conservationist of the Year
Elaine Boyd of Hendersonville with work spanning the state
Boyd is the senior advisor at the Tennessee Department of Environment and Conservation. She served as the project manager for TN H2O, Tennessee’s first comprehensive water plan. In this role, she managed 100 expert volunteers and helped shepherd the entire statewide project to completion.
She is a 2019 class member of Leadership Middle Tennessee and serves on the board of Cumberland Region Tomorrow and All About Women.
Conservation Organization of the Year
Tennessee B.A.S.S. Nation High School based in Winchester with work spanning the state
Tennessee B.A.S.S. Nation High School is dedicated to supporting the sport of bass fishing. This means getting youth involved both in the sport and completing conservation efforts important for the future of bass fisheries in Tennessee.
What started as one project, Tennessee B.A.S.S. Nation turned into a statewide mission that has placed more than 4,500 fish habitat structures and cleaned up more than 2 ½ tons of garbage from Tennessee’s waters.
“The Federation was founded by people with varying interests, backgrounds and viewpoints,” Kendall McCarter, CDO of the Federatino, said. “In much the same way, we bring together and celebrate each year a mix of people, organizations and disciplines. Their complementary talents and expertise serve key roles in sustaining Tennessee.”
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 Consultantsand 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
- Dr. John. O. “Jack” Gayden Leadership Award – Monty Halcomb of Wartrace
- J. Clark Akers III Champion of Conservation Award for years of service to the Federation – Jim and Jean Maddox of Nashville
- Chairman’s Award – Sam Mars III of Harrogate
- Conservation Legislator of the Year – Congressman David Kustoff of Germantown
- Wildlife Conservationist of the Year – Mary Jennings of Sparta
- Land Conservationist of the Year – Ralph Knoll of The Conservation Fund from LaGrange, Georgia
- Water Conservationists of the Year – Elaine Boyd of Hendersonville
- Forest Conservationist of the Year – Austin Bibb of Munford
- Conservation Organization of the Year – Tennessee B.A.S.S. Nation High School of Winchester
- Conservation by Business – Genera Energy of Vonore
- Conservation Educator of the Year – Dr. Jonathan Evans of Sewanee
- Conservation Communicator of the Year – Dr. David Sloas of Cordova
- Youth Conservationist of the Year – Cash Daniels of Chattanooga
- On Target Award for outstanding support of the Tennessee Scholastic Clay Target Program– Lance Rider of McKenzie
- Dan & Cherie Hammond Sharing the Harvest Award for outstanding support of Hunters for the Hungry– Larry Ross of Hickory Valley
- Hunter Education Instructor of the Year – Gene Smith of Memphis