RESTON, Va. — Greg LeClair, founder and lead organizer of Maine Big Night, is the recipient of the National Conservation Young Leader Award from the National Wildlife Federation. The award recognizes LeClair for his tireless dedication to protecting wildlife through innovative solutions and collaboration throughout Maine.
Greg has been an outspoken advocate on wildlife issues in Maine for several years. Maine Big Night, a citizen science project focused on collecting data on road-crossing amphibians in the state, was started in 2018 while LeClair was a student at Unity College. Now in graduate school, LeClair continues to recruit and train volunteers of all ages and backgrounds statewide to participate in data collection and assisting amphibians across roadways, especially during spring migration season. LeClair has recruited more than 400 volunteers and monitored more than 300 survey sites statewide, helping to identify amphibian road mortality hot spots and prioritize infrastructure solutions and wildlife crossings in partnership with the Maine Department of Transportation.
“Greg has a remarkable ability to bring people together to forge collaborative and durable solutions bigger than any one person or organization,” said Collin O’Mara, president and CEO of National Wildlife Federation. “Greg’s ability to spearhead the Maine Big Night initiative while building meaningful relationships with the community and state agencies will have far reaching impacts and demonstrate why he was chosen for this award.”
"When I first received notification of this award, I actually didn't even believe it - to be recognized among such a prestigious group of recipients is such a high honor,” said LeClair. “Maine Big Night would not be possible without the support and involvement of so many volunteers of all backgrounds, and I would like to thank them and everyone who has supported me in this endeavor since it began. Drive safely and don't forget the little guys!"
In 2022, LeClair was one of six young changemakers in Maine to receive a Brookie Award for their leadership and effectiveness in tackling a wide range of environmental issues.
"Greg is a leader who has inspired countless others to discover Maine's outdoors and become active participants in improving the health of their local environment,” said Rebeccah Sanders, CEO of the Natural Resources Council of Maine. “He exemplifies the creativity, collaboration, and community-building needed to address today's conservation challenges so we can build a better future for tomorrow."
The National Wildlife Federation Conservation Achievement Awards began in 1966. Since then, the National Wildlife Federation has celebrated individuals and organizations that have made outstanding contributions to protecting wildlife through education, advocacy, communication and on-the-ground conservation. Previous honorees have included former Presidents Jimmy Carter and Bill Clinton, First Ladies Lady Bird Johnson and Michelle Obama and other national leaders, including U.S. Sen. John McCain and filmmaker Robert Redford.
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