NWF Stands Up for Wildlife, Public Lands, Public Health at Annual Meeting
The National Wildlife Federation’s state affiliates ratified 14 resolutions during the meeting.
The National Wildlife Federation, America’s oldest and largest wildlife conservation and education organization, capped a busy week with its annual Conservation Achievement Awards dinner on Wednesday, April 30 in Washington, DC, and its annual meeting in Baltimore over the weekend where Maryland’s National Aquarium hosted fellow NWF state affiliate organizations from across America. Interior Secretary Sally Jewell and Environmental Protection Agency Administrator Gina McCarthy were among the speakers addressing the meeting, which featured the theme Water: It Connects Us All.
At the Conservation Achievement Awards dinner, NWF’s Board of Directors announced its appointment of Delaware Secretary of Natural Resources and Environmental Control Collin O’Mara to serve as the organization’s next President and Chief Executive Officer effective July 7, 2014. O’Mara will succeed Larry Schweiger, who retired on Friday after serving for 10 years as NWF’s President and CEO. Also at the “Connies,” NWF honored President Bill Clinton with its 2014 J.N. “Ding” Darling Conservation Award for Lifetime Achievement.
"From New England birdwatchers and boaters to north western hunters and hikers and everyone in between, what binds us is our common motivation to conserve our precious natural surroundings and wildlife—for our children and our children’s children,” McCarthy told Annual Meeting attendees on Friday. "That’s what draws groups here from around the country to form the largest ‘big tent’ conservation federation in America today—the National Wildlife Federation. That ‘big tent’ mentality is the founding spirit of NWF, a spirit that fuels your success."
The National Wildlife Federation’s state affiliates ratified 14 resolutions during the meeting. Among the highlights:
- America’s public lands aren’t for sale. NWF “reaffirms its unequivocal opposition to large-scale exchange, sale or giveaway of federally managed public lands by the Bureau of Land Management, the U.S. Forest Service, National Park Service or other federal land management agencies.”
- Calling for stronger federal oversight of coal ash disposal. NWF “calls upon responsible federal and state agencies, and the regulated community to take action, and urges the Environmental Protection Agency and the Office of Management and Budget to expedite promulgation, implementation and enforcement of federal rules and regulations that provide definitive standards for the federal and state regulation of [coal combustion residue] impoundments across the United States.”
- Supporting wetlands restoration through increased duck stamp fees. NWF calls upon Congress to support increasing the price of the Migratory Bird Hunting Stamp and to provide additional legislation to establish a regular review process of the fee to ensure it is commensurate with changes in land and wetland values. NWF also supports transferring authority to increase the price of the Migratory Bird Hunting and Conservation Stamp to the Interior Secretary in consultation with the Migratory Bird Conservation Commission.
The National Wildlife Federation also presented a series of awards:
- Affiliate of the Year Award: Prairie Rivers Network (Illinois)
- Charlie Shaw Conservation Partnership Award, Affiliate: Mack Turner, Texas Conservation Alliance
- Charlie Shaw Conservation Partnership Award, NWF Staff: Jan Goldman-Carter, NWF Water and Wetlands Senior Manager
- Affiliate Volunteer of the Year Award: Norm Ritchie, Association of Northwest Steelheaders (Oregon)
- National Conservation Special Achievement Award: Michael Riska, Delaware Nature Society
- National Conservation Youth Leader Award: Michael Roles, Philadelphia, PA, formerly of the Environment Council of Rhode Island