NWF Honors Jack Johnson, Governor and Mrs. Martin O’Malley, and Nickelodeon

Seven additional recipients recognized for conservation achievements at National Wildlife Federation's annual awards dinner

05-18-2012 // Aislinn Maestas

The National Wildlife Federation celebrated the achievements of this year’s National Conservation Achievement Award winners at a ceremony this week in Washington, DC.  The theme for the May 17 event was "Rediscovering the Joys of Nature." Among the 10 awardees honored were:

Jack Johnson

A platinum selling musician, Jack Johnson has always tried to take the spotlight and shine it on issues important to him. In addition to donating 100 percent of his Sleep Through the Static and To The Sea tour profits to charity, Johnson founded the Kokua Hawaii Foundation and Kokua Festival to support environmental education in Hawaii's schools and communities. He also created the Johnson Ohana Charitable Foundation, which supports environmental, art and music education worldwide. His tour profit donations, along with Johnson’s personal charitable activities, have resulted in over $25 million donated to charity since 2001.

Maryland Governor Martin O’Malley and First Lady Katie O’Malley

Governor Martin O’Malley and Judge Katie O’Malley are committed to a cleaner, greener and more sustainable future for the people of Maryland. In 2008, Governor O’Malley signed an executive order to promote outdoor activities and environmental education for the State’s youth. In 2009, he unveiled the Maryland Children’s Outdoor Bill of Rights.

Katie O’Malley partnered with University of Maryland Extension to promote the “Grow It Eat It” campaign and planted one of the first backyard food gardens to be housed in a U.S. Governor’s home. In 2011, she hosted a group of local children on the lawn at Government House as part of The Great American Backyard Campout.


More than just a children’s television network, Nickelodeon empowers kids to actively create social and environmental change. In 1994, NWF began sponsoring Nickelodeon’s The Big Help social campaign, which encourages kids to take real world positive actions affecting their communities. To date, kids have taken close to 6 million Big Help actions. In 2011, Nickelodeon’s Big Help initiative worked closely with NWF to educate kids across the country about Louisiana wetlands and how they can make a difference. Nickelodeon also partnered with NWF and more than 50 partner organizations for its 8th annual Worldwide Day of Play celebration, which mobilized millions of kids across the country to get up, get out and get active.

Celebrating our Conservation Heroes 

"This year’s award winners are rich in inspiration and leadership," said Larry Schweiger, president of the National Wildlife Federation. "We are proud to recognize them and the contributions they have made to the conservation movement in America."

The National Wildlife Federation has been honoring conservation heroes since 1965, through its National Conservation Achievement Awards and Dinner. This annual celebration – known informally as the “Connie Awards” – recognizes individuals and organizations that have made outstanding contributions to protecting wildlife through education, advocacy and on-the-ground conservation. This year’s honorees are:

  • Jack Johnson for Communications;
  • Nickelodeon for Corporate Leadership;
  • Jim Fowler for Education;
  • Confederated Salish and Kootenai Tribes for Government;
  • Maryland Governor Martin O’Malley and First Lady Katie O’Malley for Legislative;
  • Senator Richard Shelby for Legislative;
  • The Timberland Company for International;
  • Alicia Celorio for Philanthropy;
  • Nimansha Jain for Science; and
  • Jack Spadaro for Special Achievement.

Scroll through the slideshow to see this year's honorees with their "Connie Awards." (To view the descriptions for each photo view in "full screen" mode or, visit our Flickr page.)

Previous National Conservation Achievement honorees have included former Vice President Al Gore, author Thomas Friedman, former Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger, former President Jimmy Carter, Lady Bird Johnson, Ted Turner, the Anheuser-Busch Companies, actor Robert Redford, and many other distinguished recipients.

Learn more about the National Conservation Achievement Awards at www.nwf.org/Connies

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