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April 16, 2014

Longtime wildlife conservation volunteer wins 2013 Environmental Awareness Award

Quality Deer Management Association founder Joe Hamilton has been named winner of the 2013 South Carolina Environmental Awareness Award. Mr. Hamilton, who's impressive voluntary wildlife conservation work spans over five decades, founded the Quality Deer Management Association (QDMA) in 1988. Today, the QDMA is a rapidly growing organization with more than 50,000 members in all 50 states and several foreign countries. He was recognized for his efforts at a ceremony April 16 at the S.C. Forestry Commission's Environmental Education Center at Harbison State Forest in Columbia.

Hamilton's efforts have sparked positive environmental changes and influenced tens of thousands of conservation professionals. He places education at the forefront of his teaching and writing, and his countless presentations and articles, combined with his founding of the QDMA, have influenced thousands of hunters and landowners and impacted millions of acres of wildlife habitat. During his nearly 20 years with the S.C Department of Natural Resources, he helped implement QDMA practices on more than two million acres in South Carolina. Currently, he is the QDMA’s Director of Development and the nation’s leading advocate of the QDMA philosophy.

QDMA promotes sustainable, high quality white-tailed deer populations, wildlife habitats, and ethical hunting experiences through education, research, and management in partnership with hunters, landowners, natural resource professionals, and the public.

"Once again this year we had outstanding submissions for the award and it was quite a challenge to choose only one nominee," said DNR Agency Director Alvin Taylor. "It’s very inspiring to see what the citizens of this beautiful state are doing to ensure our natural resources are protected and improved for future generations to enjoy."  

Each year the public is invited to submit nominations to the awards committee. The committee is made up of representatives from the state's natural resource agencies, including the S.C. Department of Health and Environmental Control, the S.C. Department of Natural Resources, South Carolina Forestry Commission, and the S.C. Sea Grant Consortium. The requirements are high. Candidates should demonstrate innovation and leadership. His or her accomplishments will have led to positive change or may have influenced matters affecting the natural environment.

The S.C. General Assembly established the S.C. Environmental Awareness Award in 1992 to recognize outstanding contributions made toward the protection, conservation, and improvement of South Carolina's natural resources.

Previous winners include:

            2012 – Thomas Kester, Chairman and Treasurer for the Conestee Foundation
            2011 – Dr. Patricia J. DeCoursey, Professor of Biological Sciences at USC
            2010 – Frank S. Holleman, III, President, Naturaland Trust 
            2009 – Dr. Fred Holland, Coastal Ecologist, Charleston 
            2008 – Benjamin Ziegler, Chairman, Pee Dee Land Trust 
            2007 – Dr. Richard Porcher, Jr., Professor Emeritus, The Citadel 
            2006 – Rick Huffman, Founder, South Carolina Native Plant Society 


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