BHA awards top honors at North American Rendezvous

Impressive List Of Honorees Receives 2023 BHA Awards

MISSOULA, Mont. – At the 12th annual North American Rendezvous, Backcountry Hunters & Anglers announced the 2023 award winners. The BHA’s highest honors recognize individuals, chapters and entities distinguished by demonstrated commitment and relentless effort on behalf of public lands and waters, fish and wildlife, and game and fishing.

The 2023 awardees are as follows:

tony waleyformer director of the Nevada Department of Wildlife and current president of the Wildlife Management Institute, received the BHA’s Aldo Leopold Award for his outstanding work and dedication to terrestrial wildlife habitat conservation.

“Tony’s most notable accomplishments included leading the conservation of the sagebrush ecosystem within and beyond Nevada, raising awareness of the threat burros and wild horses pose to our arid western landscapes, and partnering with user groups, including tribes, ranchers, mining companies and many others”. said Ted Koch, Chairman of the BHA North American Board of Directors. “Tony’s positive and inclusive style keeps people on his side in the fight for conservation. He calls it as he sees it, but he calls it out of love and respect for people and resources.”

Don Holmstroma BHA Life Member of Boulder, Colorado, received the BHA’s Sigurd F. Olson Award, which recognizes outstanding effort in the conservation of river, lake or wetland habitats.

“Don Holmstrom has been a central part of the Colorado BHA’s leadership and has led the Colorado chapter’s efforts to enforce the public’s right to fish and float on the state’s waterways, through direct coordination with the attorneys leading the effort in Roger Hill v. Warsewa,” said Tim Brass, BHA director of state policy and administration. “As counsel, Don has been instrumental in filing the BHA’s recent amicus brief on this case, in association with American Whitewater.”

corey ellisa BHA member living in Missoula, Montana, received the 2023 Jim Posewitz Award recognizing outstanding ethical behavior in the field and educating the outdoor public on the importance of ethical behavior.

“Corey is persistent, smart, and his moral compass is unwavering,” said Kevin Farron, BHA Regional Policy Manager. “He’s not afraid to pick new battles, and I haven’t seen him give up yet. He has written dozens of opinion columns defending the good policies and opposing the bad ones. He has influenced decisions and attitudes on issues ranging from the use of drones in hunting, to cell-streaming trailing cameras, to the use of license dollars for tailless pheasant breeding, and much, much more.”

harrison stasikformer president of the BHA varsity club at the University of Wisconsin-Stevens Point, received the BHA’s Rachel Carson Award, which honors young leaders for outstanding work on behalf of hunting, angling and conservation.

“During his tenure as club president, Harrison took the program by storm and led the UWSP BHA to being the highest-ranking club in the Collegiate Program,” said Kylie Schumacher, BHA Collegiate Program Coordinator. “He won the club the Public Land Owners Management Fund grant two years in a row. He took his club members on a trip to experience one of the BHA’s most treasured priority landscapes, the Boundary Waters Wilderness. Along with his teammates, he won the BHA Hike to Hunt competition, raising more than $2,000 for the BHA. He also led the program’s largest fundraiser, the Gear & Beer Bash, two years in a row, raising a total of nearly $20,000 for the club and college program. He excels at building relationships with partners, peers and mentors and has set the club on a path to future success.”

justin spruiellof Yelm, Washington, received the Dwight D. Eisenhower Award for his positive impact on the BHA Armed Forces Initiative and the military community.

“Justin selflessly dedicates countless hours to helping our military community get out into the field and strives to educate tomorrow’s conservation leaders,” said AFI leader Marty Bartram. “But what impresses me most about Justin is his lack of ego. Justin really only works for the mission of creating more conservationists in the military community. When he desperately needs a volunteer for an event at the last minute, Justin can be counted on to be there.”

G&H lures has received the BHA’s Larry Fischer Award, which honors the memory and contributions of a longtime BHA board member by recognizing a company’s exceptional dedication to the BHA mission.

“As I work to weave our partners into the BHA fabric and vice versa, I will look to the example that Ray Penny, Carlos Gomez and the entire team at G&H Decoys have set as one of the gold standards of a true partnership.” said Josh Mills, coordinator of corporate conservation partnerships at BHA. “G&H is new to partnering with BHA, but they came out in full force last year. Outstanding volunteers and businesses give BHA their time, their treasure and their talent, and this year’s winner did it every time we asked.”

andres mackeanThe Glasgow, Montana-based journalist, who is currently Outdoor Life’s hunting and conservation editor, received the BHA’s 2023 Ted Trueblood Award for outstanding communications on behalf of habitat and backcountry values.

“He has an honest passion for conservation,” said Katie McKalip, BHA vice president of external affairs and communications, “and deeply appreciates the role that not only hunters and fishermen play, but also diverse partners such as farmers, ranchers, and businesses. himself a public policy nerd, but also possesses the ability to see the many human sides of contentious issues, imbuing his writing with an informed impartiality that is all too rare these days.”

BHA Texas Chapter received the George Bird Grinnell Award, which honors the outstanding BHA chapter of the year.

“It is an honor and a privilege to work alongside this year’s Grinnell Award winner on behalf of public land and water conservation,” said Katie DeLorenzo, BHA Western Regional Manager and Texas BHA Chapter Coordinator. “Our Texas chapter leaders have passionately advocated for hunting and fishing access, have contributed to large-scale habitat conservation from the coast to the prairies of the Panhandle, and will invest $8,000 a year for three years to fund a grant Hutton of the American Fisheries Society to support the TPWD River Access Program. Simply put, the Texas BHA is made up of exceptional people doing exceptional work to further the mission of the BHA in Texas and beyond.”

Finally, hettick buzz of Laramie, Wyoming, received the Mike Beagle-Chairman’s Award. Named after a BHA founder, it is awarded to an individual who displays outstanding effort on behalf of the BHA.

“Buzz epitomizes action,” said Land Tawney, BHA President and CEO. “He is the ‘man in the arena’ that Theodore Roosevelt spoke of, figuratively, if not literally. From the field to the state legislature and everywhere in between, you can always count on Buzz.

“It is fitting that Buzz Hettick has received the Mike Beagle-Chairman’s Award for his unwavering efforts in helping fund our Wyoming Chapter, increasing hunters’ access and advocating for healthy habitat,” Tawney concluded. “Wyoming and the United States are better places because of his work. Be more like Buzz!

View a list of past BHA award winners.

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