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LWF honors 2023 Conservation Achievement Award recipients

by Minden Press-Herald

58th annual banquet celebrates Louisiana’s most prestigious conservation awards

Louisiana Wildlife Federation (LWF) has recognized seven individuals and one organization for their significant achievements in natural resources conservation and education. The recipients were recognized as part of the 58th Conservation Achievement Awards Banquet, held in Baton Rouge on Friday, April 12.

The 2023 conservation recipients include:

Alexander Kolker, PhD. of New Orleans was named Conservationist of the Year. Dr. Kolker’s work has been instrumental in helping us understand the natural processes and the human causes of Louisiana’s coastal land loss. He recently led the charge for collecting data to better understand the continuing evolution of Neptune Pass in the lower Mississippi River, just one of his many contributions to Louisiana’s coastal restoration efforts.

Corey Miller of New Orleans was named the Professional Conservationist of the Year. Miller has been a dedicated advocate for coastal communities in Louisiana, particularly in the fishing industry. He is currently serving as the Community Engagement Director for the Pontchartrain Conservancy where he oversees the new Canal Lighthouse, education, policy, and outreach.

Jim Kolinski of Monroe was recognized as the Volunteer Conservationist of the Year for his work with Black Bayou Lake National Wildlife Refuge. Kolinsky serves as animal caretaker, educator, carpenter, and staff member. He has been credited with single-handedly keeping the Education Center open to the public.  

Amanda Clark and Pam Pearce of Natchitoches were named the Conservation Educators of the Year for their tireless effort to introduce the children of Natchitoches Parish to the joys of fishing. This dynamic duo leads the Natchitoches Parish 4-H club and founded the Fishing “Fin-atics” Club.

Rep. Joseph Orgeron, PhD of Thibodaux serves as the state representative for District 54 (Golden Meadow). For his dedicated service he received the Elected Official Conservationist of the Year award. Rep. Orgeron has been an advocate for innovative ways to fund future coastal restoration projects and actively engages on fisheries management issues.  

Don Shoopman of New Iberia was tapped as Conservation Communicator of the Year. His commitment to keeping hunters, anglers, and concerned citizens informed about issues concerning Louisiana’s great outdoors has been vital to the Acadiana region. His focus on youth participation in outdoor activities has helped promote Louisiana as the Sportman’s Paradise to a new generation of enthusiasts.  

AJ and Nona Trigg Hodges Foundation from Florien was recognized as the Conservation Organization of the Year for its continued dedication to promoting and conserving north Louisiana’s diverse longleaf pine forests. Through the establishment of the Louisiana Ecological Forestry Center or LEAF Center, and countless partnerships with conservation organizations, they have transformed 2,400 acres of land into a research and learning center.

Martin D. “Marty” Floyd of Cheneyville received the inaugural Lifetime Achievement Award for his more than five decades of service to conservation causes and issues in Louisiana. Marty is that unique individual who embodies both a deep academic understanding of the issues facing Louisiana’s wildlife and the dedication to the practical implementation of scientific principles to correct those issues.

Rebecca Triche, Executive Director of the Louisiana Wildlife Federation, expressed her admiration for the awardees, stating, “It’s heartening to learn how these individuals and organizations have made outstanding contributions to conservation and education in our state.

Their dedication, passion, and innovative approaches leave a legacy of preserving Louisiana’s natural resources for future generations.”

These awards, represented by unique wildlife statuettes, were jointly presented by the Louisiana Wildlife Federation and the National Wildlife Federation.

We would also like to thank our generous sponsors for their help in making the 58th Conservation Achievement Awards Banquet special. They are:

Lamar; Land Trust for Louisiana; Southern Wild, LLC; Allyn and Cliff Dukes; Restore the Mississippi River Delta; Cenac Marine Services; Delacroix Corporation; Louisiana Lottery Corporation; Michel H. Claudet, LLC; Pontchartrain Conservancy; Rapides Wildlife Association; Robert and Norma Steward; and Toledo Bend Lake Association.

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