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Michelle Blair of the Mississippi Wildlife Federation Honored With Affiliate Volunteer of the Year Award

Reston, VA – The National Wildlife Federation has recognized Michelle Blair for her passion for paddling and her dedication to protecting water resources in the Jackson area.

“Michelle Blair’s commitment to clean water is an inspiration to all of us in the conservation community,” said Collin O’Mara, president and CEO of the National Wildlife Federation. “She has turned her passion for nature into a tool that allows people to learn about the importance of clean water while enjoying the outdoors. This is an example of what can be achieved with a little determination and commitment.”

The National Conservation Affiliate Volunteer of the Year Award honors affiliate volunteers who give their time, talents, and service to support the conservation efforts of the Federation. The ceremony took place at the National Wildlife Federation’s annual meeting and 82nd anniversary celebration, held in Chantilly, Virginia.

“There is nothing I enjoy more than teaching the next generation how to have fun outdoors, said Michelle Blair, a Mississippi Wildlife Federation board member. “That’s why I’m honored to be recognized. Organizations like the National Wildlife Federation and the Mississippi Wildlife Federation understand that nature can’t be fully appreciated from the sidelines.”

Michelle Blair: Affiliate Volunteer of the Year Award

From hunting and fishing, to kayaking and hiking, Michelle Blair is passionate about the environment and protecting our natural resources. Michelle's love for paddlesports and water conservation are what led to her involvement with the Mississippi Wildlife Federation (MWF). In 2013, Michelle approached MWF with a unique idea to raise awareness about the importance of clean water in the Jackson metro area—the Gator Bait Kayak Race series. The Gator Bait, a 5-mile kayak race for adults, and the Gator Bait Hatchling, geared toward kids ages 5-13, connect people to their local water resources in a fun way, while providing a platform for education about clean water for drinking, animal habitat, and recreation, and promoting individual responsibility for clean waterways. Both races are held on the Ross Barnett Reservoir which provides drinking water for the Jackson, MS area. Along with her crew of 11 volunteers, Michelle has spent countless hours over the past 4 years organizing each detail of the races and soliciting donors and sponsors. The races have drawn participants from nine states and have been able to reach more than 700 people of all ages about the need for water conservation, education, and pollution protection.

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More than one-third of U.S. fish and wildlife species are at risk of extinction in the coming decades. We're on the ground in seven regions across the country, collaborating with 52 state and territory affiliates to reverse the crisis and ensure wildlife thrive.

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