This award was created “to honor people who have dedicated their lives to the conservation of fish and wildlife resources in Alaska and have worked diligently and effectively for the best use of those resources.”
The “Conservationist of the Year” award: In 2010, numerous Alaska conservation organizations collectively identified a need to recognize outstanding Alaska residents who dedicate their lives to the conservation of fish and wildlife resources. The Governor instituted the annual award based on nominations from Alaska-based conservation organizations with on-the-ground knowledge of contributions by individual or collective Alaskans who meet(s) the following criteria:
- Make a significant contribution over an extended period of time (at least two decades) of their personal time and resources to the management and conservation (wise use) offish and wildlife.
- Effectively engage in improving the scientific information used in State management of fish and wildlife resources.
- Despite controversies, consistently participate in and defend State management of sustainable fish and wildlife resources to benefit all user groups.
- Without deference to ·politics and philosophies, consistently work to defend access to and best use of the resources by all Alaskans.
Ron Somerville has worked and volunteered for nearly 60 years in support of Alaska’s sustainable management of fish and wildlife and in defense of all Alaskans’ abilities to access and use those resources on federal lands. As one example of the wide range of his successful efforts over nearly 6 decades, he was instrumental in uniting the diverse conservation and sportsmen’s organizations and guiding industry to successfully lobby for a license and permit fee increase. In the tradition since Theodore Roosevelt of sportsmen supporting taxing themselves to pay for conservation of fish and wildlife resources, the increase was approved by the Alaska legislature in 2016 to provide much needed funding for the Alaska Department of Fish and Game’s wildlife management programs.