Danica Williams to win Governor’s Award as Conservationist of the Year

Biologist /program manager to earn Conservationist of the Year; eight more awards set for Saturday

BY JOE MACALUSO jmacaluso@theadvocate.com MAR 28, 2016 - 5:16 PM

Saturday will be a big day for Danica Williams.

It’s because the petite dynamo has made so many other Saturdays so special for so many others that the Louisiana Wildlife Federation will make her the recipient of the Governor’s Award, the Conservationist of the Year, at a banquet Saturday evening at the Embassy Suites Hotel in Baton Rouge.

Williams, a Department of Wildlife and Fisheries’ fisheries biologist and program manager, was selected to receive the top award from individuals and organizations chosen winners in several categories.

Besides her professional skills in youth education and fishing events across the state, it was Williams’ volunteerism that pushed her to the top of this 52nd Governor’s Awards class.

She founded the Wish to Fish Louisiana Foundation, an organization that occupies most of her spare time — and some personal financial resources as noted by the LWF announcement — to provide fishing opportunities to youngsters, most of whom have never had a chance to fish. And she’s done this for more than a decade in a Wish to Fish plan involving youngsters with disabilities, children of parents in the military, and youngsters who have had fathers taken by violence, natural causes or fathers serving long jail sentences.

Eight more awards will be handed out Saturday, to include:

Christopher Reid of Baton Rouge: A Department of Wildlife and Fisheries’ botanist for his work in conserving and restoring the coastal prairies;

Pamela Kay Connery of Eunice: A volunteer leader and founder of Louisiana Bobcat Refuge;

Taylor Renee Wagner of Thibodaux: A teacher at E.D. White Catholic High who founded a high school ecology club and worked to help students understand the importance of wetlands and conservation;

Bo Boehringer of Baton Rouge: The now-retired Office of Wildlife public information officer who formulated, developed and implemented the public awareness media campaign for the state’s Whooping Crane Project;

Gene Reynolds of Minden: The state representative who led the legislative fight for safer, cleaner disposal methods of improperly stored explosive materials at Camp Minden;

ORA Estuaries: For developing “OysterBreak,” a plan using concrete rings to prevent coastal erosion and establish oyster growing areas:

Becoming an Outdoors Woman Program: The LDWF’s ongoing education plan for women to select from and learn about 20 outdoors activities on selected weekends:

And, The Coalition to Restore Coastal Louisiana: For their plan to recycle harvested oyster shells for return to coastal waters for coastal restoration projects.

Banquet tickets can be obtained from the LWF website: lawildlifefed.org.


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