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.
A Field & Stream Hero of Conservation is someone who spends his or her own time working to create, improve, or restore fish and wildlife or habitat. A Hero is dedicated to the spirit of conservation volunteerism and stands out among other volunteers. Some Heroes are members of conservation organizations involved with dedicated efforts to benefit a particular species or area. Others are simply individuals who take it upon themselves to improve habitat where they live. No project is too small, but it should be hunting- or fishing-related, well under way or completed, and the public should be able to benefit from the endeavor. If you know of a potential Hero or are one yourself, tell us by completing a nomination form.
The magazine has profiled the conservation efforts of more than 200 men and women since introducing the Heroes of Conservation program in October 2005. In the fall of 2006, we honored Ronnie Luster as the first-ever Conservation Hero of the Year. In 2007, Brian Maguire, an elk hunter from Oregon, took the honors, followed by Hod Kosman of Nebraska in 2008, Californian Howard Kern in 2009, Gale Dupree for his work in Nevada in 2010, and Tennessee's David Ramsey in 2011. In October 2012, we announced the seventh Hero of the Year, Eddie Bridges of Greensboro, North Carolina, whose work to establish a savings fund for wildlife, and to put the interest to work for outdoorsmen, embodies all the values of a Field & Stream Hero of Conservation. The 2013 Hero of the Year will be named at our Heroes Gala in Washington, D.C., in September. To learn more, watch videos of this year's finalists and visit Heroes of Conservation on Facebook.