Alabama Wildlife Federation Youth Conservationist of the Year honor awarded to Garret Ard

By Melanie LeCroy
Posted 8/12/20

Garret Ard, a 2020 Gulf Shores High School graduate was awarded the Alabama Wildlife Federation Youth Conservationist of the Year for his Eagle Scout project, BSA Troop 49 Reef.

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Alabama Wildlife Federation Youth Conservationist of the Year honor awarded to Garret Ard

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Garret Ard, a 2020 Gulf Shores High School graduate was awarded the Alabama Wildlife Federation Youth Conservationist of the Year for his Eagle Scout project, BSA Troop 49 Reef.

The Youth Conservationist of the Year honor is for outstanding achievement by a youth, having not reached the age of 19 at the time of nomination, in resource conservation. Accomplishments may include, but need not be limited to, on-the-ground projects for conservation of fish, wildlife habitat, air, soil, forest or water. Efforts in the field of public awareness, communication and education are also eligible for recognition.

Ard’s Eagle Scout project took four years of work and fundraising. He raised $25,000 for the project, the City of Orange Beach donated $10,000 in March 2017 and the remaining funds came from the Alabama Gulf Coast Reef and Restoration Foundation and various individuals and organizations around the community. Ard purchased a 50-foot steel-hulled shrimp boat called Southern Heritage and sank it creating what will be the centerpiece of a Conservation Reef Complex in the Gulf.

The Alabama Wildlife Federation’s Governor’s Conservation Achievement Awards are the most prestigious conservation awards in the state. For over 40 years, the awards have been presented to individuals and organizations that make great contributions to the conservation of our wildlife and related natural resources, the natural elements upon which all life depends.

The purpose of the Governor’s Conservation Achievement Awards program is to promote leadership by example and in turn increase conservation of the natural resources of the State of Alabama – 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 the community and the state.