Awards and Recognitions

Employees with the N.C. Wildlife Resources Commission have been recognized by a plethora of local, state and federal agencies, non-governmental organizations and other natural resources-related organizations for their contributions to fisheries, wildlife, and habitat management and conservation, as well as the protection of the state's wildlife and its citizens.

The N.C. Wildlife Resources Commission bestows the prestigious Thomas L. Quay Wildlife Diversity Award and Lawrence G. Deidrick Small Game Award to recipients who have made outstanding contributions to wildlife and wildlife conservation in North Carolina. 

Thomas L. Quay Wildlife Diversity Award

The Thomas L. Quay Wildlife Diversity Award recognizes individuals who provide leadership in the conservation of wildlife diversity in North Carolina. The award is named for the late Thomas Quay, a retired professor of zoology at N.C. State University who passed away in 2012. A self-described “full-time volunteer and unpaid environmental activist,” Quay served on a variety of conservation boards while lobbying state agencies for various environmental causes.

2023  Recipient - David Allen, New Bern

David Allen poses with his Thomas L. Quay Award in 2023

New Bern resident (and Clemson alum) David H. Allen has been named recipient of the 2023 Thomas L. Quay Wildlife Diversity Award. It’s one of the N.C. Wildlife Resources Commission’s (NCWRC) most prestigious recognitions given to individuals who make outstanding contributions to wildlife diversity in North Carolina and are considered leaders in wildlife resource conservation.   

Allen will join 17 respected leaders in the wildlife conservation field who have been similarly recognized. The first recipient was Quay himself, a retired professor of zoology at N.C. State University and self-described “full-time volunteer and unpaid environmental activist.” Nominations were submitted by colleagues acknowledging Allen’s achievements throughout his 32-year career with NCWRC.

“Dave Allen brought unique, innovative conservation ideas to North Carolina when he began working with the Wildlife Resources Commission in the early 1990s. Through his mentorship of many biologists working with him, continued conservation of the red-cockaded woodpecker, Neuse River waterdog, gopher frog, sea turtles, and many waterbird species will be assured. It’s great to see Dave receive this prestigious award.”

Sara H. Schweitzer, Ph.D. Assistant Chief, Wildlife Management Division, Wildlife Diversity Program, NC Wildlife Resources Commission

Allen has a special passion for red-cockaded woodpeckers as well as broader habitat conservation efforts throughout the N.C. coast. He was presented the award today during NCWRC’s business meeting at its Raleigh headquarters.

Lawrence G. Diedrick Small Game Award 

The Lawrence G. Diedrick Small Game Award recognizes efforts in habitat management, education, research, the Hunting Heritage Program, or other meaningful contributions that benefit small game.  In some cases, small game populations may benefit significantly from efforts focused on non-game or other species with similar habitat requirements.  The award is given annually, or when appropriate, to individuals and organizations whose actions significantly and positively impact any of North Carolina’s small game populations (bobwhite quail, ruffed grouse, squirrel, rabbit). The award is named for the late Larry Diedrick, a lawyer and wildlife commissioner from Rocky Mount who passed away in 2002. Diedrick was a passionate small game hunter and strong conservation advocate throughout his lifetime.

2023 Recipients - Richard Broadwell and Family, Bladen County - Indvidual; Orton Plantation, Organization in Brunswick County

Richard Broadwell and his two brothers own more than 5,000 acres adjacent to Suggs Mill Pond Game Land.  Broadwell uses prescribed burning — much of which he does himself — to conserve and actively manage his family’s land. Broadwell’s efforts are helping to restore habitat for the federally endangered red-cockaded woodpecker. This species prefers mature pine forests to dwell. He is restoring native longleaf pine on the property. He maintains the largest expanse of Atlantic white cedar in the state. The family has also donated a 1,770-acre easement to The Nature Conservancy to further ensure the long-term conservation of this species. Broadwell allows biologists and researchers to access his land and conduct surveys on nongame animals and other management activities include forest thinning and road daylighting, which allow sunlight to reach the forest floor, increasing native grasses and forbs. In addition to game species like quail, Broadwell’s efforts also benefit nongame species, such as reptiles, amphibians and songbirds. Read more about Broadwell's contributions to the conservation and management of wildlife in southeastern North Carolina.

Since conservation philanthropist Louis Bacon purchased Orton Plantation in 2010, he has transformed the property into premier habitat for bobwhite quail with the help of nearly 40 employees, including Dillon Epp, Orton’s property manager, and Dr. Theron Terhune, Orton's lead research scientist, who accepted the award on behalf on Orton on Dec. 7 in Raleigh. Similar to Broadwell, the trio has placed a heavy emphasis on thinning pine stands and prescribed fire throughout the years that have allowed grasses, wildflowers and other native vegetation to flourish across the plantation. Additionally, collaborative efforts with local universities and non-profit organizations, as well as participation in federal conservation programs such as Safe Harbor, have been integrated into Orton’s management plans. It has benefitted quail and other game species like eastern wild turkey and has enabled a large diversity of plants to grow, including rare and endemic Venus flytraps, sundews, bladderworts and pitcher plants. Many grassland species and endemic species that are declining elsewhere are found at Orton, such as eastern pine snakes, oak toads, red-cockaded woodpeckers, and other species dependent upon grasslands.  Read more about Orton's contributions to the conservation and management of wildlife in southeastern North Carolina.

2023 Recipients - Kathryn Rand Booher, Rocky Point - Indvidual; Wake County Wildlife Club, Organization

Kathy Rand Booher's actions and financial support have contributed to bobwhite quail conservation, including habitat improvements, greater public access, education and advocacy. She is a strong financial supporter and active volunteer of the Southeast North Carolina Chapter of Quail Forever (SENC) and the South Carolina Bobwhite Initiative. She’s the liaison between the SENC and the Wildlife Commission, and with her assistance, the agency created 7,000 acres of “Quail Trails” on Holly Shelter Game Land in Pender County. The trails have improved access to and the management of early succession habitat, which have enhanced small game hunting opportunities and benefited many non-game species. Booher has overseen efforts to manage a longleaf pine forest through thinning and prescribed burns on over 340 acres of her family’s land. The direct impact of this work has improved both the habitat and the quail population. Leading by example, she has encouraged other private landowners to effectively manage their own property to enhance habitat for bobwhite quail

As a leader in conservation education, the Wake County Wildlife Club has impacted young people who have gone on to pursue careers in the wildlife field and created conservationists with an appreciation for the natural world by highlighting the critical role that sportsmen and women play in the conservation of wildlife resources. Best known for hosting the Dixie Deer Classic in Raleigh, the club has had impacts that reach well beyond the annual big game event. Specifically, the club hosts countless workshops aimed at hunter safety, wildlife-associated recreation, education and diversity in hunting. The WCWC is also the primary non-governmental supporter of the Fur, Fish and Game Rendezvous held each year at Millstone 4-H Camp in Ellerbe. The club offers scholarships to send teenagers to this unique weeklong camp.In 2020, club officials updated the forest management plan for their 191-acre Durham County property to include commercial thinning, pre-commercial thinning and prescribed burning. These initiatives will better educate visitors about the importance of habitat management and will also improve habitat for small game on the property.