The Tennessee Wildlife Federation, one of the largest nonprofits dedicated to conserving the state’s wildlife and natural resources, is taking nominations for its 58th Annual Conservation Achievement Awards.
Details and nomination materials can be found at tnwf.org/CAA. Nominations close March 3.
The Federation’s Conservation Achievement Awards are the state’s longest-standing and inclusive conservation awards. Past winners have included governors, international companies, conservation professionals, and lifelong volunteers.
“We know the work of conserving native wildlife and wild places cannot be accomplished by one person or group, and we are proud to be able to honor those who contribute to conservation in Tennessee,” said Kendall McCarter, chief development officer for the Federation.
Nominations are accepted in nearly 20 categories—from Conservationist of the Year to Youth Conservationist. Award winners will be announced in May at the Conservation Achievement Awards event and across the Federation’s digital platforms.
Early this month, the Department of Wildlife Resources (DWR) fisheries biologists will be working with staff from the North Carolina Wildlife Resources Commission (NCWRC) to collect adult musky from the lower New River. This is a continuing partnership in which DWR provides a small number of adult musky to NCWRC. These fish are then taken back to NCWRC hatcheries and used to produce fingerling musky for stocking in North Carolina. In return, DWR receives a large number of musky fingerlings for stocking throughout the Commonwealth.
For the last several years, all musky that have been stocked in Virginia have come through this cooperative effort. Last spring, DWR provided NCWRC with five adult musky: two females and three males. For that investment, DWR received nearly 27,000 fingerlings that were stocked in waters across Virginia. The adult fish taken to North Carolina are not returned to Virginia waters due to disease transfer concerns. However, DWR staff make sure to rotate collection locations to keep from impacting the population in any one area of the river.
Beech Mountain Resort’s Runs for Buns, an annual fundraiser benefiting the Colon Cancer Coalition, includes an evening of music featuring cancer survivor and bluegrass legend Sam Bush as well as plenty of skiing.
Bush performs at the inaugural Not So Gala, Gala on Friday evening March 3, kicking off a weekend in which skiers and snowboarders hit the slopes on Saturday, March 4, to raise funds and awareness to defeat colon cancer. Multiple opportunities exist for non-skiers to be involved, too.
The Not So Gala, Gala brings an intimate music experience to Beech Mountain Brewing Company, minus the fancy clothing of a typical gala. Guests are encouraged to dress casually for this special event with Bush, a 2020 inductee in the International Bluegrass Music Association Hall of Fame, and a four-time IBMA Mandolin Player of the Year.
Gala general admission tickets are $45 in advance, and VIP tickets are $125. VIP tickets include early access and heavy hors d’oeuvres. All proceeds benefit the Colon Cancer Coalition.
The next day on the slopes, skiers and snowboarders make as many runs as possible to raise funds for the cause. Runs for Buns is similar to a walk-a-thon or charity run. Individuals and teams get family and friends to pledge donations for every ski run they complete that day.
Non-skiers also participate by signing up, creating a fundraising team and getting donations. A full 100% of donations and registration fees go to the Colon Cancer Coalition. The odds of surviving colon cancer greatly increase with early detection and treatment. However, help is needed to increase screening rates because only 40% of colon cancers are found in early stages.
Runs for Buns takes place every March during Colon Cancer Awareness Month and honors Kelly-Grier Costin, a member of the Beech Mountain Resort family who passed away on March 19, 2021, after a three-year battle with colon cancer. Her determination and fight inspired many people, and her passing brought awareness to the importance of colon cancer screenings.
Costin’s legacy will be honored at Friday night’s gala with a first-ever presentation of the Kelly-Grier Ripple Effect Award. The award recognizes someone with ties to colon cancer — either a survivor, healthcare worker or volunteer — who exhibits strength, courage, compassion and commitment to the community.