Katherine Gividen, president and a founding member of the Louisiana Master Naturalists of Greater Baton Rouge, has been selected to receive the Governor's Award for Conservationist of the Year for 2018 for her volunteer work to educate citizens about conservation in Louisiana.
The award, a statuette of a bald eagle, will be presented April 27 at a banquet at Ashley Manor in Baton Rouge. The public is invited to attend and can purchase banquet tickets online at lawildlifefed.org.
The Governor's Award is presented annually to the person, business or organization deemed to have made the most outstanding contribution toward the protection, wise use and enjoyment of Louisiana's natural resources from among nominees submitted by the public, according to a news release. The selection for this and six other awards was made by a panel of independent judges with expertise in a wide range of conservation fields. The 55th Annual Governor's State Conservation Achievement Awards program is hosted by the Louisiana Wildlife Federation and the awards are presented jointly with the National Wildlife Federation.
Gividen has served as a coordinator and facilitator for master naturalist workshops in addition to being a board member for the group for several years. She is a certified FrogWatch volunteer and trains others. She volunteers as a teacher for the Discover Nature series at Hilltop Arboretum and as an instructor for the Becoming an Outdoors Woman Workshop hosted by the Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries each year. She has been a board member with the Louisiana Hiking Club for many years and volunteers with Wings of Hope Wildlife Sanctuary. Gividen completed her Green Force Training in 2018 to volunteer with BREC.
"Katherine Gividen works a full-time job as director of food and nutrition at a Baton Rouge health care facility and still makes time to volunteer for environmental and outdoor recreation organizations in her community," said Rebecca Triche, executive director for Louisiana Wildlife Federation. "Sharing her knowledge of wildlife and habitat and her enthusiasm for being outdoors has benefited many others and she is worthy of this distinguished recognition."
Three other individuals and three organizations will also be honored by the Louisiana Wildlife Federation for their outstanding conservation efforts in 2018. They are:
- Sherrill James Sagrera, of Abbeville: For contributing significantly to coastal restoration planning for southwest Louisiana and being an advocate for more than 20 years, including as a member of the Vermillion Parish Coastal Protection/Restoration Advisory Committee, Rainey Conservation Alliance board of directors, and Coalition to Restore Coastal Louisiana. Sagrera also worked on Giant Salvinia control and sponsored wetland restoration plantings in 2018.
- Audubon Nature Institute Youth Volunteer Corps: For creating six Youth Volunteer programs that offered opportunities for youth ages 11-19 to volunteer in environmental community service learning projects in Louisiana. In 2018, 268 youth volunteers contributed more than 26,000 volunteer hours of service.
- CITGO Petroleum Corporation: For its Caring for our Coast Program, which was launched in 2014 to focus on Gulf Coast restoration and conservation and has grown into a large-scale environmental restoration program that includes educational and volunteer efforts. In 2018, CITGO partnered with Restore the Earth for the third year, planting cypress trees in Terrebonne and Lafourche Parishes.
- Thomas Christian "Chris" Pearce, of Many: For his passion for wildlife education, working at the LSU AgCenter and as a 4-H agent to bring conservation-minded youth to Mini Marsh Maneuvers at Rockefeller Wildlife Refuge and Marsh Madness at Palmetto Island State Park. Pearce organizes and teaches outdoor training sessions for youth and gives wildlife demonstrations twice a year to 350 youth at local festivals in Sabine Parish.
- Sen. Dan W. "Blade" Morrish, of Jennings: For his successful 2018 legislative work that built on previous legislative efforts to protect and conserve the Sabine Lake Oyster Reef, which may be the largest unharvested reef in any temperate marine climate in the world, according to The Nature Conservancy and other organizations.
- Baton Rouge Zoo FrogWatch: For providing crucial insights into the conservation challenges impacting amphibians through collaboration between scientists and volunteers for scientific data collection and access to scientific information. The program partnered with BREC's Bluebonnet Swamp Nature Center and enrolled 49 volunteers in 2017 and 48 volunteers in 2018.
The Louisiana Wildlife Federation is a statewide conservation education and advocacy organization. Information can be found at lawildlifefed.org.