Archived Outdoors

Local conservationists earn statewide recognition

Conservation leaders from Asheville and Brevard were among the 16 people and organizations to earn recognition during the N.C. Wildlife Federation’s 57th annual Governor’s Conservation Awards. 

“For nearly 60 years, this annual awards program has brought together a diverse group of conservationists to highlight the good news about wildlife conservation across the state,” said T. Edward Nickens, NCWF awards committee chair. “We hope it inspires others to take a more active role in protecting North Carolina’s natural resources for future generations.”

Jonathan Marchal, director of education at the N.C. Arboretum in Asheville, was named Environmental Educator of the Year for his work. Marchal has exponentially increased youth involvement by developing a curriculum that applies science to outdoor learning, using partnerships and resources to expand educational programming for school children. His work positively impacts teachers and students across the state by applying the outdoors as a classroom and ensuring that programming includes traditionally underserved audiences.

Black Folks Camp Too, a Brevard-based business founded by entrepreneur Earl B. Hunter Jr., won the Conservation Organization of the Year Award for its mission to increase diversity in the outdoor industry by making it more accessible and enjoyable for minorities to go camping. Their core principles of sincerity, meaningfulness, measurability and sustainability help break down barriers and create more inclusive and stronger communities.

Award recipients will be honored during a ceremony on Saturday, Sept. 11, in Cary. Learn more at

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