Elizabethton resident wins Conservation Ward
Published 11:23 am Friday, May 21, 2021
Elizabethton resident Connie Deegan is the winner of this year’s Conservation Educator of the Year Award presented by the Tennessee Wildlife Federation for making outstanding contributions to Tennessee’s wildlife and natural resources.
To ensure the health and safety of this year’s winners, the Federation celebrated the awards virtually on May 19.
“This is the Federation’s 56th year hosting the awards and our 75th anniversary as an organization,” said Kendall McCarter, chief development officer for the Federation. “Being our 75th anniversary and after a year when the great outdoors were more important to our daily lives than usual, we are eager to recognize and celebrate those who have gone above and beyond for Tennessee’s natural places.”
Deegan was honored for her work spanning Carter, Sullivan and Washington Counties. She has served as the nature program coordinator for the Johnson City Parks and Recreation Department for nearly a decade. As a naturalist and herpetologist, Deegan has a wealth of knowledge about the natural world and a passion for sharing it with others. Whether it’s talking to students, the Salvation Army, cub scouts, or visitors in the parks, Deegan can masterfully break down the complex ways nature works for any audience. Over the years, she’s inspired thousands of people to take an interest and care for the great outdoors.
In addition to educating others, Deegan organizes and coordinates hundreds of volunteers each year to create and maintain park trails and work on a number of special projects that benefit the outdoors.
Deegan was the recipient of the Local Government Aquatic Stewardship Award in 2015 and the Washington County Soil Conservation District 2015 Conservation Educator Award.
Among other awards presented was the Z.Cartter Patten Award to former Sen. Lamar Alexander, Jr. of Maryville; the Wildlife Conservationist of the Year to Greg Vital of Georgetown; Land Conservationist of the Year to Cayce McAlister of Nashville, and Youth Conservationist of the Year to Cash Daniels of Chattanooga.
Tennessee Wildlife Federation is an independent nonprofit dedicated to conserving Tennessee’s wildlife, waters, and wild places. Since 1946, the Federation has spearheaded the development of the state’s wildlife policy, advanced landmark legislation on air and water quality and other conservation initiatives, helped restore numerous species, and introduced thousands of kids to the great outdoors. To learn more, visit tnwf.org.