John Frances Deitsch Honored with National Conservation Young Leader Award

RESTON, Va. — The National Wildlife Federation honored John Frances Deitsch, a volunteer with Georgia Wildlife Federation, with the National Conservation Young Leader Award for his dedication to protecting wildlife and his passion for inspiring others to do the same.

Deitsch has been volunteering with the Georgia Wildlife Federation since he was only 12 years old. In this role, he participated in environmental and wildlife projects such as invasive plant removal, avian censusing, bird banding, bird and insect identification, and cleaning duck nesting boxes. Now a junior at Cornell University, Deitsch is involved in a variety of projects involving ornithology, entomology, and conservation and is currently working to curate and catalog the dragonfly and damselfly specimens in the Cornell University Insect Collection. He has also traveled the world from upstate New York to the jungles of Brazil studying birds and insects and hopes to continue sharing this knowledge with people.

“Instilling an appreciation for wildlife in our younger generations is vital if we want to achieve real conservation victories. John serves as a shining example of what this appreciation looks like and shows what kind of success is possible when we use our passion to inspire others,” said Collin O’Mara, president and CEO of the National Wildlife Federation. “His work studying and protecting birds and insects will inspire more young conservationists and open the door to real improvements in the way we conserve wildlife.”

"I am honored to be chosen to receive this award from the National Wildlife Federation. The conservation work that the National Wildlife Federation does is so important and I look forward to being a part of it for many years to come." 

Deitsch has been a member of the Southern Wings Bird Club since age 11. As a high school student, Deitsch entered Georgia birding competitions where he won first place several times. He also maintains the official bird, dragonfly, and butterfly checklists for Mill Creek Nature Center which has become the No. 5 birding hotspot in Gwinnett County, Georgia. Deitsch plans to spend this summer doing fieldwork and research at Hubbard Brook Experimental Forest in the White Mountains of New Hampshire.

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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