Al Kittredge, named Wildlife Volunteer of the Year by the N.C. Wildlife Federation, shows a novice angler the proper way to cast a flyrod during the 2009 Wildlife Expo at the John E. Pechmann Fishing Education Center
RALEIGH, N.C. (July 20, 2011) – Al Kittredge, a longtime volunteer at the N.C. Wildlife Resources Commission’s fishing education center in Fayetteville, has won the Wildlife Volunteer of the Year award from the N.C. Wildlife Federation.
The award, given by the Federation as part of its prestigious Governor’s Conservation Achievement Awards, will be presented to Kittredge on Aug. 27 during the Federation’s annual banquet, which will be held in Durham at the Hilton Raleigh-Durham Airport.
Since 2001, Kittredge has worked as a volunteer fishing instructor at the Commission’s John E. Pechmann Fishing Education Center, where he has been instrumental in helping Commission staff recruit, train and coordinate more than 45 volunteers to conduct fishing outreach and education at the center.
He serves as the liaison between the Commission and Fort Bragg’s Warrior Transition Battalion, coordinating numerous “wounded warrior fishing events” that provide opportunities for soldiers to learn basic fishing skills, such as fly-tying, knot-tying, casting and fly-fishing. Since initiating contact with Fort Bragg in 2006, Kittredge has helped center staff host 36 events, involving 703 soldiers and their family members.
In addition to the wounded warrior events, Kittredge volunteers at numerous children’s fishing events, as well as other aquatic resource conservation events hosted by the center.
“The highly successful Boy Scout fly-fishing clinics, hosted by the Pechmann Center, are lauded by the scouting community, in part because Al and his fellow volunteer fishing instructors assist center staff who teach the fly-fishing merit badge requirements to Boy Scout troops across the county,” said Kristopher Smith, director of the Pechmann Center. “Al’s generous donation of time and selfless commitment to the center’s objectives have ensured the success of our fishing outreach programs and projects.”
Kittredge’s volunteer hours at the Pechmann Center effectively stretch the Commission’s budget. Funded by a Sport Fish Restoration Program grant from the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, Commission staff at the Pechmann Center organizes fishing events using federal grant money to pay for 75 percent of the fishing program expenses, with the remaining 25 percent paid through state funds. But the federal grant allows the Wildlife Resources Commission to pay the remaining 25 percent by calculating a value for donated work time from volunteers such as Kittredge.
“This means we run our fishing clinics and aquatic education workshops with almost no expense to the state of North Carolina,” Smith said. “With the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service grant covering 75 percent of our program expenses and Al and his volunteers donating their time to cover the remaining 25 percent, this allows the Commission to shift the money that would have been spent on fishing education and reallocate it to fisheries research and management work on our lakes, rivers and reservoirs.”
In 2010-11, Kittredge and fellow Pechmann Center volunteers logged in 3,905 hours that the Wildlife Resources Commission was able to convert into $62,164 of matching grant money.
Kittredge’s volunteer efforts are not limited to just fishing. He also volunteers with the Caldwell Hunt Club, N.C. Handicapped Sportsmen and Quality Deer Management Association.
The N.C. Wildlife Federation’s Wildlife Volunteer of the Year award is the latest in a series of honors bestowed upon Kittredge for his selfless volunteerism. In 2009, he was named “Outstanding Volunteer in the Smith River Chapter 264” by Trout Unlimited. He also has been honored by the N.C. Chapter of American Society for Industrial Security, which created a new award for “most significant contribution” and named it after Kittredge. It bestowed the inaugural “Al Kittredge Award” to its namesake in 2010.
Kittredge is a retired law enforcement officer and lieutenant colonel in the U.S. Army. Currently, Kittredge serves as an adjunct professor, area mentor and resource mentor for the Security Management Curriculum at Webster University, located at Fort Bragg, N.C. He lives in Fayetteville with his wife Anita.
For more information on fishing in public, inland waters, visit www.ncwildlife.org/fishing.
MEDIA: Please credit photo to N. C. Wildlife Resources Commission.