Ever since Field & Stream contributor Gifford Pinchot first popularized the term conservation ethic in 1907, the magazine has been committed to the preservation of our natural resources. In 2005, an article titled ‘Heroes of Conservation’ focused on the local efforts of everyday outdoorsmen. Out of this, a new program was created to recognize sportsmen’s efforts to protect fish and wildlife.

The magazine has profiled the conservation efforts of over 150 men and women since introducing the Heroes of Conservation program in October 2005. In 2006, Ronnie Luster was inducted as the first ever Conservation Hero of the Year, followed by Brian Maguire, Hod Kosman, Howard Kern, and Gale Dupree. In 2011, David Ramsey was awarded top honor for his work to save more than 10,000 acres in Tennessee from development. For their efforts, each Hero of the Year took home a new Toyota truck.