Our Dirk Stevenson was honored to receive a Conservation Education Award from the Gopher Tortoise Council (GTC) at their annual meeting this past October. The award is “in recognition of Dirk’s conservation and education activities on behalf of the Gopher Tortoise, Indigo Snake and upland ecosystems.”

Jess McGuire, the GTC Co-chair, says of Dirk: “Dirk is passionate about wildlife and his enthusiasm is infectious! I greatly enjoy our days in the field together, although they are too few! It is always such a joy to see him interact with landowners especially. I was excited to see his name on the list of Gopher Tortoise Council awards this year. He joins a distinguished group of individuals recognized for their work on behalf of the Gopher Tortoise, their burrow commensals and the uplands.”

The GTC Conservation/Education Award is presented to individuals who have contributed to significant education and outreach activities relevant to conservation of tortoises and upland habitats. We are proud that they chose Dirk as their 2014 recipient. He has over 20 years of experience as a field zoologist, primarily conducting surveys for amphibians and reptiles in the southeastern Coastal Plain. According to Lora Smith who coordinated this year’s award ceremony, the GTC chose Dirk for his work publishing in peer-reviewed literature and writing wonderful, popular articles on a wide array of topics using many of his own amazing photographs; his participation in the Orianne Society’s annual Indigo Days event; and his participation in educational outreach booths at the Claxton Rattlesnake and Wildlife Festival, Okefenokee Refuge Forestry Days, CoastFest, and numerous schools and individual landowner events.

And Lora Smith added, “Dirk’s contribution to education and outreach is immeasurable!”

Congratulations, Dirk! And thank you to the Gopher Tortoise Council for honoring him this October.

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