An all-star cast of conservation heroes were honored last Saturday’s a the 8th Annual Wild South Green Gala. At the event, Wild South recognized the winners of the Roosevelt-Ashe Conservation Awards and special awards, as well as celebrated Wild South’s legacy of 25 years.

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BRO Editor in Chief Will Harlan with his Roosevelt Ashe Conservation Award for Most Outstanding Journalist.

The award for most outstanding journalist was awarded to BRO’s own Editor in Chief  Will Harlan. 175 people gathered at The Millroom for a seated dinner, award ceremony, music, and silent auction that benefitted Wild South. The keynote address was given by DeLene Beeland, author of The Secret World of Red Wolves: The Fight to Save North America’s Other Wolf. Beeland’s speech addressed the history and current status of the endangered red wolf, of which there are fewer than 50 left in the wild.

“We are grateful to the many contributions of our sponsors, community partners, supporters, volunteers who made this event an enormous success,” says Hannah Morgan, Wild South’s Development and Communications Coordinator. “The event was a very special moment to celebrate the many accomplishments of Wild South over the past 25 years as well as the accomplishments of many special conservation leaders.”

Check out the rest of the Roosevelt-Ashe Awards below:

Outstanding Journalist

Will Harlan: Editor of Blue Ridge Outdoors Magazine, Asheville, North Carolina

Outstanding Small Business

Holladog Farms: Organic Farm, Pamplico, South Carolina

Outstanding Youth 

Bennett David: Scout/Student-Volunteer, Boy Scout Troop 91, Asheville, North Carolina

Olivia & Carter Ries: Founders of One More Generation, Fayetteville, Georgia

Outstanding Educator

Kim Wheeler: Executive Director of The Red Wolf Coalition, Columbia, North Carolina

Outstanding Conservationist

Carl Silverstein: Executive Director of Southern Appalachian Highlands Conservancy, Asheville, North Carolina

Additional special awards were given to outstanding individuals in their field:

Outstanding Community Conservationist: To recognize an individual’s contribution to education and community engagement on conservation, spanning many categories of achievement. This is a special, one-year award designated by the Roosevelt-Ashe Selection Committee.

Forest Hilyer: Chairman of Lumpkin Coalition, Dahlonega, Georgia

Kayah Gaydish Award: For an individual who has advanced Wild South’s mission and vision and has demonstrated the same dedication Kayah had for inspiring others to protect our wild places.

Ben Prater: Southeast Program Director of Defenders of Wildlife, Asheville, North Carolina

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Ben Prater, the Southeast Program Director of Defenders of Wildlife, received the Kayah Gadish Award.

Cultural Heritage Award: For an individual who has demonstrated commitment to preserving cultural heritage in our region.

Robin Swayney: Program Manager, Qualla Boundary Library, Cherokee, NC.

Public Service Award: For a dedicated public servant whose work has promoted a conservation vision and values that mirror Wild South’s and represents the type of conscientious stewardship of natural resources that promotes collaborative partnerships with organizations.

Gary Kauffman: Botanist & Ecologist of U.S. Forest Service, Asheville, North Carolina

Friend of Wilderness Award: For an individual who has worked to designate and increase protection for our special wild places in the Southeast.

Mike Leonard: Board Chair of The Conservation Fund and attorney at Womble Carlyle Sandridge & Rice, PLLC, Winston-Salem, North Carolina.

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