Conservation Advocate Mike McKernan Honored as National Wildlife Federation’s Volunteer of the Year

ST. LOUIS, MO  — The National Wildlife Federation honored conservation advocate and South Dakotan Mike McKernan this week as its Volunteer of the Year. The award recognized McKernan’s contributions to protecting wildlife through the South Dakota Wildlife Federation’s Annual Youth Conservation Camp.

“Mike’s long history of work with young people through South Dakota Wildlife Federation’s Annual Youth Conservation Camp is truly impressive. By engaging kids in outdoor recreation and inspiring the next generation of conservationists, he has embodied the mission of the National Wildlife Federation and our affiliates,” said Collin O’Mara, president and CEO of the National Wildlife Federation. “Mike’s tireless commitment to conservation and spirit of volunteerism are truly an inspiration. We are proud to honor his efforts to preserve the natural resources of South Dakota and to inspire countless young people to join him in these critical efforts.”

“To see campers who go into wildlife related fields or just become knowledgeable about wildlife and conservation has made my 30-plus year involvement with camp a real joy,” McKernan said.

McKernan, past president of the South Dakota Wildlife Federation, taught math and science at Jones County High School in Murdo, S.D. for 39 years. He also volunteered at the South Dakota Wildlife Federation’s Annual Youth Conservation Camp starting in 1989 and served as its camp director from 2001 to 2018.

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 83rd anniversary celebration. 

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. Senator John McCain and filmmaker Robert Redford.


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