New Jersey Governor Chris Christie and leading conservationist Louis Bacon were honored by the National Fish and Wildlife Foundation (NFWF) at its 10th annual "Celebrating the Great Outdoors" benefit September 28 in Connecticut.
They were awarded the Chairman’s Leadership Award, the National Fish and Wildlife Foundation’s highest accolade, which recognizes significant conservation leadership. Previous recipients include Presidents Jimmy Carter and Ronald Reagan, Tom Brokaw, Clint Eastwood, Paul Newman, Harrison Ford, Paul Volcker, The Honorable Ken Salazar, Ken Hofmann, Julie Packard, Stephen D. Bechtel, Jr. and Family, James C. Morgan and Bob Fisher.
Both men were selected for their ongoing efforts to preserve and protect threatened landscapes that provide essential wildlife habitat.
"National Fish and Wildlife Foundation is extremely pleased to recognize the achievements of these two leaders," said Jeff Trandahl, executive director and CEO of the National Fish and Wildlife Foundation. "They have, and are making significant contributions to the survival of some of our most iconic species, and show an outstanding commitment to conservation action."
NFWF protects and restores America's wildlife and habitats and works hand-in-hand with conservation efforts abroad. Chartered by the US Congress in 1984, NFWF directs public conservation dollars to pressing environmental needs and matches those investments with private contributions.
Honoree Gov. Christie earned national attention for his dedication to rebuild New Jersey's battered coast following the devastation by super storm Sandy in October 2012. The storm was particularly catastrophic in the United States' mid-Atlantic, with loss of life, destruction of property and infrastructure, and widespread ecological damage. Honoree Louis Bacon was honored by NFWF for his conservation accomplishments spanning more than two decades. For more than 20 years Bacon's Moore Charitable Foundation has supported more than 200 nonprofit organizations focusing on land and water conservation, including NFWF.
Paul Tudor Jones said when introducing the evening’s honoree, “Louis Bacon has always known that the most we can ever do is be a worthy steward of the land for ourselves and future generations. I have known Louis Bacon for decades. Quite simply, Louis Bacon is one of the best friends the conservation movement has ever had.”
Bacon, through his Moore Charitable Foundation, has been a long-standing partner of NFWF’s Long Island Sound Bird Conservation Program. That program focuses on preserving critical habitat along the Atlantic Flyway, protecting species like the Piping Plover and Least Tern which summer on those beaches and winter in The Bahamas.
The Moore Charitable Foundation and more recently, its Bahamas affiliate, The Moore Bahamas Foundation, have made significant contributions not only to conservation but also to learn to swim, scholarship, education, medical, and historic organizations in the Bahamas. In 2013, The Moore Bahamas Foundation sponsored innovative conservation positions at Bahamas National Trust and BREEF. It is currently supporting BNT’s 'Conchservation' coordinator who is working to preserve conch populations -- the pride of Bahamian culinary culture. Through a grant to the Bahamas Reef Environment Education Foundation (BREEF), the organization is able to increase summer programs for teachers and students with "in-the-classroom" and "in-the-water experiences," building greater awareness of the importance of fragile coral reefs and the marine life that depends upon their survival. The Moore Bahamas Foundation recently sponsored a forum focused on protection of Nassau grouper with BNT and noted marine biologist and underwater artist Dr. Guy Harvey.
The annual benefit event included dignitaries such as former Secretary of the Interior Ken Salazar, the 2011 honoree of the National Fish and Wildlife Foundation, and true to its style, the conservation celebrities dressed the part -- in blue jeans.