The North Carolina Wildlife Federation has announced its latest conservation heroes. The NCWF’s 57th Governor’s Conservation Achievement Award winners include agency professionals, elected officials, volunteers and organizations who have demonstrated a commitment to North Carolina’s wildlife, habitat and natural resources. This year’s honorees include:
- Legislator of the Year, John Bell (Goldsboro)
- Rep. John Bell is a lifelong sportsman who serves as the NC House Majority Leader. Bell actively works for pragmatic, nature-based solutions to significant resource issues, including sustainable fisheries and ongoing community flooding. To address flood and storm preparedness, he introduced legislation, the Disaster Relief and Mitigation Act. This proactive, coordinated approach includes funding for wetland and floodplain restoration—the first of its kind considered in the state.
- Marine Resource Conservationist of the Year, Rick Sasser (Goldsboro)
- Rick Sasser has worked tirelessly for decades to conserve and preserve the coastal marine resources of North Carolina for future generations. Sasser has dedicated countless hours of volunteer time studying, researching, and compiling exhaustive information identifying nursery areas for grey trout and other marine species within Pamlico Sound. He has spent years advocating for better management practices throughout the fisheries, all based upon comprehensive data.
- Sportsman of the Year, Chris Williams (Princeton)
- North Carolina native Chris Williams fell in love with waterfowl hunting on the coast early in life, and it’s a passion that continues today. After 11-plus years as the Atlantic Flyway regional manager for Delta Waterfowl, Williams now serves on the front lines of policy and advocacy for waterfowl hunters and wetlands conservation. Working with volunteers and members, he’s helped build Delta’s North Carolina chapters into an influential voice for duck hunters. Additionally, his flyway-wide understanding of both the biology and politics of waterfowl hunting is a significant benefit to his home state.