National Deer Association Announces 2022 Branch Achievement Award Winners

NDA’s mission to secure the future of wild deer, wildlife habitat, and game could not be accomplished without the tireless work of grassroots volunteers. While the efforts and accomplishments of all Branches and volunteers are appreciated, the NDA is proud to highlight a few who went above and beyond in recognizing the 2022 Branch Achievement Award recipients.

“I really enjoyed meeting many of our outstanding volunteers,” said Kristen Schnepp-Giger, the NDA’s director of grassroots support. “For each branch or individual award winner, there were several others who were on the lookout. I wish I could personally thank everyone who donated their time, talent, and resources to further the NDA’s mission and help us stand together for deer!”

The 2022 awards and recipients are as follows:

He NDA New Branch of the Year The award went to the Ozark Mountain Mark Twain Branch of Missouri. For its first fundraiser, the Branch held a raffle that raised $1,100.00 and gained 23 new raffle members, most of whom were new hunters or interested in becoming hunters. The branch also helped with a Field to Fork senior event, wildlife co-op meetings, a Learn to Hunt Whitetail camp for women, and hosted its own public land cleanup event.

He Branch NDA of the Year The award went to the Michigan Thumb Area Branch. The Branch has always hosted one of Michigan’s largest and best banquets and has used the proceeds raised to promote hunting and meet the needs of its community. They have a long list of accomplishments for the 2022 calendar year.

The Georgia Coastal Empire Branch earned the Community Engagement Branch of the Year award by making community engagement its trademark since its inception by forging direct partnerships with over 50 corporate sponsors not only in the greater Savannah area, but also across the US and internationally. By leveraging fundraising and participation from its Sportsman’s Banquet, Coastal Empire Branch is able to support community events and organizations across the state.

Mike Ketelaar received the NDA Branch President of the Year grant. Mike is a selfless leader who took over the West Central Michigan branch in the midst of a sea change and recruited a great team of branch leaders and volunteers to help get the branch back on track. In addition to leading his local chapter, Mike has mentored numerous hunters, organized educational seminars and outreach events, and taken care of and organization of all NDA expo materials and merchandise for the state of Michigan.

Jennifer Hodge McLain was named the NDA Volunteer of the Year. Jennifer is currently vice president of the Lake Murray South Carolina chapter, where she uses her passion for fundraising and events to engage her community. She is the Branch Events Coordinator and is the main organizer of their annual banquet and side events, which include an oyster grill in the fall.

The River City Branch of Virginia received the NDA Event of the Year award for his annual Wheelin Sportsman Hunt. This December hunt is organized for any disabled person who needs help getting around. Over the years, the branch has housed people who have been affected from birth, injured during an accident, including a tree stand victim, as well as servicemen and women injured in combat. This hunt has been going on for close to 15 years and usually averages around 20 hunters.

Learn more about NDA’s 2022 Branch Achievement Award recipients.

About the National Deer Association

The National Deer Association is the leading nonprofit deer conservation group, working to ensure the future of wild deer, wildlife habitat, and game. Formed by combining the strengths of two long-standing successful organizations, the National Deer Association has a combined 40-year effort that has changed deer management to improve hunting and protect America’s most vital and admired game species. North America for future generations. Visit or follow @deerassociation on Instagram, Twitter, Facebook, YouTube and TikTok.