RALEIGH, N.C. (Oct. 15, 2013) — A covert investigation and a wildlife officer working undercover garnered prestigious conservation honors for the N.C. Wildlife Resources Commission.
The N.C.Wildlife Federation named Sgt. Chad Arnold with the Commission’s Special Investigations Unit as Wildlife Enforcement Officer of the Year, while the Commission was named Natural Resources Agency of the Year for its participation in “Operation Something Bruin” — a multi-agency infiltration into bear poaching circles that led to multiple arrests in North Carolina and Georgia. Arnold played a major role during the 4-year undercover operation.
The honors came earlier this year at the annual Governor’s Conservation Achievement Awards banquet, held at Embassy Suites RTP, Cary. The ceremony recognizes those who have an unwavering commitment to conservation and an uncommon determination to safeguard the state’s natural resources. By publicizing and honoring these conservation leaders — young and old, professional and volunteer — the Wildlife Federation hopes to inspire everyone to take a more active role in protecting natural resources.
“I must acknowledge the teamwork behind Operation Something Bruin and recognize those who contributed to its success,” said Col. Dale Caveny, chief of the Division of Law Enforcement, who accepted on behalf of Arnold and the Wildlife Commission.“The cohesive efforts of the U.S. Forest Service, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and the National Park Service on the federal level; and the Georgia Department of Natural Resources and Tennessee Wildlife Resources Agency at the state level, made this investigation work. Here at home, I have to thank North Carolina’s wildlife commissioners for their personal support and the entire Wildlife Commission, especially the Division of Wildlife Management, for their assistance. And I would be remiss if I didn’t thank the sportsmen and public.”
In addition to honoring Arnold and the Wildlife Commission, the Wildlife Federation also named Wildlife Commission Chairman Jim Cogdell as Business Conservationist of the Year for his Fork Farm & Stables, in Norwood, which is a world-class working farm and equestrian center that balances crop production with native ecosystems, and manages acreage for wildlife. Fork Farm& Stables also provides hands-on learning for youth and sportsmen.
Also recognized was the Pitt County Wildlife Club, of Greenville, as the Hunter Safety Education Organization of the Year. This organization has 19 active hunter safety instructors and three master instructors — all working with the Commission’s Hunter Education Program.
“Volunteer instructors are the core of hunter education and hunting safety,” said Travis Casper, the Hunter Education Program coordinator. “Groups like the Pitt County Wildlife Club provide needed volunteers; along with the support those volunteers need to get this important work done.”