RESTON, Va. — The National Wildlife Federation honored Laura Mendenhall this week as its Volunteer of the Year. The award recognizes Mendenhall’s service growing the Kansas Wildlife Federation’s programming and expanding outdoor recreation opportunities for Kansans.
“The success of the conservation movement depends on welcoming more wildlife enthusiasts and outdoor recreationists, and Laura has put this principle of inclusivity into action in Kansas,” said Collin O’Mara, president and CEO of the National Wildlife Federation. “Through her efforts to improve partnerships and reach people through unique and engaging programming, Laura has demonstrated a tireless commitment to strengthening the conservation community and ensuring its impacts are felt by wildlife and people alike.”
“I am incredibly honored to receive this award and indebted to the team in Kansas and at the National Wildlife Federation who have inspired and mentored me the last several years,” said Mendenhall. “We are doing great things for conservation here in Kansas and this award will only inspire and motivate us to do more.”
A conservationist professionally and in her free time, Mendenhall has worked as a biologist with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service for nine years and has served as the Kansas Wildlife Federation’s board president since 2018. From collaborating with state agencies to translate hunting and fishing regulations into Spanish to reach Kansas’ 80,000 Spanish-speaking households to creating a community of mentorship for budding sportswomen, Mendenhall has empowered more people to experience the transformative power of nature. Additionally, Mendenhall has supported the National Wildlife Federation by establishing a profit-share Certified Wildlife Habitat program in which Kansas Wildlife Federation receives part of certification proceeds, creating partnerships with other conservation organizations, and serving on the National Wildlife Federation Transforming Wildlife Conservation Caucus.
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 virtually during the National Wildlife Federation’s annual meeting and 85th annual 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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