2014 Annual Meeting Awards

The following awardees were honored at National Wildlife Federation’s 2014 Annual Meeting Awards Dinner on Saturday, May 3, 2014, in Baltimore, Maryland:

Mack Turner (TX) – Charlie Shaw Conservation Partnership Award - Affiliate

Since becoming chairman of the Texas Conservation Alliance in 2007, Mack Turner has transformed Texas Conservation Alliance into one of the most influential conservation groups in Texas and strengthened the partnership between the Alliance and the National Wildlife Federation. This strengthened partnership led to Alliance’s selection as 2011 NWF Affiliate of the Year. Under Mack’s leadership, the Alliance has built a network of over 50 member organizations with a broad spectrum of natural resource interests, representing more than 40,000 Texans. Over the years, Mack has tirelessly pursued collaboration and jointly promoted the Alliance and National Wildlife Federation in numerous ways. The Alliance recently designed outreach programs to meet NWF’s strategic drivers, has projects that support or complement NWF’s Texas Living Waters program, partnered with NWF and others in hosting a climate change workshop in Texas, and generated extensive media support for the Teaming with Wildlife 10th Anniversary. The Neches River Protection Initiative built support for creation and defense of the Neches River National Wildlife Refuge, protecting bottomland hardwood forests in the heart of the Central Flyway for migrating waterfowl and songbirds. Believing strongly in the benefit of the nation-grassroots combination, Mack has been a visible proponent for the affiliate relationship and continues to live out Charlie Shaw’s vision of the NWF-Affiliate Partnership with personal integrity, strategic thinking and a tremendous enthusiasm for the outdoors.

Jan Goldman-Carter (DC) – Charlie Shaw Conservation Partnership Award – NWF Staff

Over the course of her career with National Wildlife Federation, Jan Goldman-Carter has demonstrated strong leadership, fervent passion for her issues, and deep appreciation for conservation and the principles that further NWF’s mission. The Clean Water Act has been subjected to countless Congressional attacks and Supreme Court decisions that have raised more questions than answers about the breadth of the Clean Water Act over the years. As NWF’s Water and Wetlands Senior Manager, Jan has been at the forefront of every battle for wetlands, representing National Wildlife Federation and standing strong with our regional partners. When an issue arises pertaining to waters of the United States, she not only looks at what she can do in Washington, DC, but also how she can help NWF’s affiliates. These clean water battles don’t just take place in Washington, DC. They affect everyone, and success requires strong partnerships with NWF’s affiliates across the nation. Jan’s assistance to affiliates ranges from conservation assistance grants to crafting state-specific Letters to the Editors and opinion editorials, promoting affiliates as clean water media spokespersons, reaching out to a member of Congress who would have influence over the battle, participating in public meetings and rallies, or simply just helping educate the affiliates members on what the attacks may mean to their local watershed. Through her fostering of relationships with affiliates and other partners to protect all of our nation’s waters, she embodies Charlie Shaw’s vision of the value and power of the NWF-Affiliate Partnership.

Norm Ritchie (OR) – Affiliate Volunteer of the Year Award

Putting in more volunteer time than any other Steelheader, both with the Association of Northwest Steelheaders and his local chapter, Norm Ritchie is an example of how volunteer time and effort can accomplish great things for conservation. Norm joined the Steelheaders in 1988 and joined the board of directors of the Steelheaders' Sandy River Chapter in 1993, serving in numerous positions over the years. He is a dedicated advocate for recovering wild salmon and steelhead populations and restoring their Pacific Northwest habitat. From 2004-2006, Norm led the Steelheaders effort to become NWF’s Oregon Affiliate. He managed the Steelheaders campaign to ban the use of plastic bags and wrote an adopted NWF resolution around this campaign. In 2003, Ritchie drafted the Steelheaders gill net policy, which is one of the earliest documents describing what became the SAFE For Salmon proposal. Since then, he has worked continually on Safe for Salmon with allied organizations and legislators. This year, that effort concluded with Lower Columbia River harvest reform adopted by ODFW and WDFW Commissions and passed in the Oregon Legislature. With his local chapter, he's involved in on-the-ground activities to restore habitat and connect people to nature, including river cleanups, restoration projects, and kids fishing events. He also volunteers his time to be on several state and regional advisory boards, as well attending town halls, lobbying in DC and at Oregon's capitol. He has chaired the international Salmon Trout Enhancement Program Conference and served on the Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife's External Budget Advisory Committee, the Sport Fishing Regulation Review Board, the Oregon Salmon Trout Advisory Committee, and Save Our wild Salmon (SOS) Coalition representing the Steelheaders.

Prairie Rivers Network (IL) – Affiliate of the Year Award

Prairie Rivers Network has been a leading voice for conservation in Illinois since 1967 and the National Wildlife Federation’s affiliate since 2001. Since their founding, Prairie Rivers Network has successfully defeated proposals to build dams, reservoirs, and other environmentally costly water projects that would have permanently altered river habitat across Illinois. They have championed clean water statewide, leading efforts to improve clean water standards, challenge pollution permits, protect wetlands, reduce polluted runoff from farms and streets, and restore natural areas along rivers and streams. Recently they have focused on halting agrichemical runoff, helping wildlife adapt to climate change, and preventing the transfer of invasive species like Asian carp between the Mississippi River and Great Lakes basins. Prairie Rivers Network has forged strong partnerships by building coalitions and inspiring citizens. Their common-sense, science-based advocacy has helped protect and restore the health and beauty of Illinois’ rivers and streams to benefit fish, wildlife, and people now and for generations to come.

Michael Riska (DE) - National Conservation Special Achievement Award

For decades, Mike Riska has dedicated his time to helping Delawareans young and old discover the beauty, joy, and wonder of the natural world. He served as the Executive Director of the Delaware Nature Society for 28 years, until his retirement in 2011, solidifying its reputation as an outstanding environmental education, conservation and advocacy organization. Prior to Delaware Nature Society, he was Tatnall Middle School Science Department Chair where he taught science to 1st through 8th graders and while with DNS taught eight 5-week Tatnall Upper School marine ecology courses based on Sanibel Island, Florida. In addition to his affiliation with over 30 different organizations through the Delaware Nature Society, Mike had professional affiliations with the University of Delaware as an adjunct professor, was a member of the Rotary Club of Wilmington, a lifetime honorary member of the Maryland Parent-Teacher Association, and was appointed to the Delaware Natural Areas Advisory Council by Governor Carper. He has received numerous awards including the Nature Conservancy Lifetime Conservation Achievement Award and several awards from the Association of Nature Center Administrators. Since 2012 has been serving in a volunteer capacity as Honorary Co-Chair of the Delaware Children in Nature Task Force, which addresses the interrelated challenges of providing all children with meaningful outdoor experiences, improving children’s health, promoting environmental literacy and increasing student achievement. Under Mike’s joint leadership, the task force produced an environmental literacy plan for the state, making specific recommendations related to education, health, community, and outdoor connections. Mike is presently consulting at Tatnall School creating a lab, technology and field-based Environmental Science Programs on the school’s 110 acre campus and adjoining 400 acre Downs Conservancy. Additionally, he is a member of other local and international boards including DNS honorary board.

Michael Roles (PA) – National Conservation Youth Leader Award

With dedication and passion, Michael Roles has sought to find ways to address climate change and pursue opportunities that involve strong collaborations and community outreach with regard to the green economy. As Vice President for Policy for the Environment Council of Rhode Island (ECRI), Michael worked with coalition partners to compile a legislative agenda and track policy priorities. He spearheaded an ECRI initiative on engaging low-income communities and communities of color specific to the area of climate change. With ECRI, he conceived a project with a focus on developing community based solutions to climate change adaptation in Rhode Island’s urban communities. His report on urban community challenges and solutions to confronting climate change was included as an addendum in the Rhode Island Climate Change Commission's 2012 report. Michael is also currently an Emerging Leader Fellow working on a project exploring solutions to a series of “gaps” that hinder broader solar photovoltaic and wind development, identifying knowledge gaps, financial gaps, and policy gaps. In addition to his work with ECRI, Michael has been a National Wildlife Federation volunteer for several years and served as one of NWF’s Emerging Leaders Council Co-chairs for three years. In his capacity, he has been able to oversee NWF’s Emerging Leaders Council development, advocate policy, and spearhead initiatives to address climate change. Now a resident of Philadelphia, Michael focuses on water and air quality as a Program Organizer with Clean Water Action, carrying with him his motivation to mobilize communities as informers of policy and stakeholders in decision-making processes.

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