WAFWA Honored Conservation Professionals

The Western Association of Fish and Wildlife Agencies honors conservation professionals from the western states, territories and providences for their exemplary commitment to conservation stewardship!

The following awards may be presented annually, as determined by the Awards and Recognition Committee through a nomination process.

2022 Award Recipients

2021 Award Recipients

2020 Award Recipients

Awards Presented by Working Groups / Committees


Presented by the WAFWA Mule Deer Working Group to individuals in recognition of outstanding contributions to knowledge and improved management of mule and black-tailed deer. 

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Presented by the WAFWA  Sage and Columbian Sharp-tailed Grouse Technical Committee to recognize outstanding contibutions to conservation of sage-grouse and sharp-tailed grouse.

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About the Awards

President’s Award

The PRESIDENT’S AWARD is presented to an individual or entity selected by the current WAFWA President.

Outstanding WAFWA Contributor of the Year Award

Presented to an employee of a member agency for outstanding contributions to a WAFWA-sponsored project or initiative that furthers the conservation goals and objectives of the Western Association of Fish and Wildlife Agencies.

Pogue-Elms Law Enforcement Officer of the Year

Presented to a natural resource officer* of a member agency for one or more of the following: contributions to fish and wildlife law enforcement; exceptional leadership, skill, or ingenuity in the performance of their duty; contributions to areas of applied technology in fish and wildlife enforcement; and/or contributions that brought credit to their agency or the field of fish and wildlife enforcement that were unique or original.

*Nominations must be for an individual (this is not a group award) and the nominee must be a natural resource officer. The term “officer” includes all persons who are commissioned as law enforcement officers and have the authority and duty to enforce law pertaining to fish and wildlife resources. “Officer” includes (but not limited to) work titles such as: wildlife officer; district officer; conservation officer, wildlife conservation officer, natural resource officer, and renewable resource officer.

Professional of the Year

Presented to an employee of a member agency for the greatest contribution to the management, protection or enhancement of fish and wildlife resources. A career of outstanding contributions will normally overshadow a one-time program unless that one-time program has a far reaching magnitude.

Commission/Board of the Year

Presented to the Commission/Board that made a significant contribution to the management, protection or enhancement of fish and wildlife resources within the past five years. A contribution that has long-term or major impacts on resources will overshadow routine activities.

Phillip W. Schneider Lifetime Achievement Award

Presented to an individual under the following criteria: long-term commitment to fish and wildlife resources and the stewardship thereof; outstanding achievements on behalf of those resources as well as in the field of fish and wildlife management; fostering a vision for the future preservation, conservation and utilization of those resources and an ability to affect change toward that vision; an affiliation of some type with the Western Association of Fish and Wildlife Agencies; the award to be distinguished from the Outstanding Citizen Award (normally given for a specific project or accomplishment) and the Professional of the Year Award (usually given to an outstanding director or high level manager); could, but not necessarily, be given annually with future Awards Committees recognizing the significant honor this special award will hold. All future awardees should be given a write-up on the major contributions and accomplishments of Phillip W. Schneider, so not only his name, but his achievements will be remembered.

Honorary Life Membership in the Association

Presented to a former employee of a member agency or a commission/board member who was an active participant in the affairs of the Association, and whose leadership helped further the mission of the Association.

Outstanding Citizen Wildlife Contributor

This award is presented to an individual who has made outstanding contributions in the realm of fish and wildlife management, protection and/or enhancement; and/or has helped advance hunting, fishing, shooting sports, or other outdoor-related recreation interests; and has done so largely on their own initiative and through dedication of their time, talents and treasure. This award is typically given for a particular project or accomplishment. Efforts that directly benefit a WAFWA-member agency program or activity will receive priority consideration by the Committee.

Federal Conservation Partner of the Year

Other awards may be presented depending on the Committee’s determination. Criteria considered by the Awards and Recognition Committee may include: Geographical area impacted, Resource magnitude, Long-term magnitude, and/or Innovative or unusual contribution.


Recognition of peers, employees and partners is one of the most important things the Western Association of Fish and Wildlife (WAFWA) does every year. The Awards and Recognition Reception/Banquet has become the pre-eminent event at the WAFWA annual conference. Please visit our Awards Nomination Form for more information on how to make a nomination.


For questions or to inquire about the nomination process, please visit the Awards and Recognition Committee for member contact information.