Jackson County District Judge Don Word has been presented the Judicial Conservationist of the Year award.

Word received the award at the 2020 Alabama Wildlife Federation Governor’s Conservation Achievement Awards ceremony on Aug. 7.

This year’s event was specifically modified to incorporate COVID-19 safety precautions. Usually an indoor banquet with 400 attendees, the 2020 event was limited to 90 attendees and held outdoors in the 7,200 square foot Matt W. Bowden Gathering Area at the Alabama Wildlife Federation’s NaturePlex facility in Millbrook.

Additional precautions included the use of face coverings and no self-serve food or beverage. Award recipients and presenters were allowed short, mask-free photo-ops. Governor Kay Ivey provided a congratulatory video prepared specifically for the 2020 Award Recipients.

The AWF Governor’s Conservation Achievement Awards (GCAA) are the most respected conservation honors in the state of Alabama. Over the past 45 years, AWF has presented these awards to individuals and organizations that make great contributions to the conservation of Alabama’s wildlife and related natural resources. 

Word is a hunter and fishermen who knows the importance of fair chase and strives to conserve and enhance our natural resources through his court decisions. He makes it clear to wildlife violators that natural resource protection and conservation is of great importance and vital to maintaining our hunting and angling traditions.

Since his tenure began in 2012, over 2,400 game and fish cases have passed through his court. His strict rulings in these cases have proven to be an effective deterrent to poachers and game fish law violations.

Thanks to his prudent approach and commitment to our outdoor resources, he is an asset to conservation law enforcement, to our natural resources, and to our state.

Presenting Sponsors for the event were Alabama Power Company and PowerSouth Energy. The Westervelt Company, Hammer LGC, Inc., and FirstGuard, LLC sponsored the food and refreshments for the event. Alabama Gulf Seafood was sponsored by the Alabama Seafood Marketing Commission. Additional sponsor support was provided by the National Wildlife Federation, Southeast Region.

AWF’s GCAA was created to promote leadership by example and in turn increase conservation of the natural resources in the state of Alabama including its wildlife, forests, soils, water and air.  The program is designed to bring about a greater knowledge and awareness of conservation practices and projects and to give proper recognition to those persons and organizations that make outstanding contributions to the natural resource welfare of their community and state. 

The Alabama Wildlife Federation, established by sportsmen in 1935, is the state’s oldest and largest citizens’ conservation organization.  The mission of the Alabama Wildlife Federation, a 501(c) 3 non-profit group supported by membership dues and donations, is to promote conservation and wise use of Alabama’s wildlife and related natural resources as a basis for economic and social prosperity.  To learn more about AWF, including membership details, programs and projects, contact Alabama Wildlife Federation at 334-285-4550 or visit www.alabamawildlife.org.

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