The Jay N. “Ding” Darling Memorial Award for Wildlife Stewardship Through Art was created in 2015 by The Wildlife Society and Sam Koltinsky, nationally recognized Darling expert continuing to champion the family interests of Darling’s grandson, Christopher “Kip” Koss, and his wife, Andrea.  This award is intended to be a lasting recognition of the heritage established by Jay N. “Ding” Darling to promote wildlife and habitat conservation through art.  His legacy of artwork and associated conservation messages were instrumental in achieving significant wildlife conservation measures.  Among them were the creation of the Federal Duck Stamp Program, National Wildlife Federation, Cooperative Fish and Wildlife Research Unit Program, the groundwork for today’s system of National Wildlife Refuges, and many broadly recognized cartoons advocating land and water conservation.

“Ding” Darling was a prominent figure in the conservation movement, and in 1938 TWS gave him honorary membership in recognition of his significant contribution to wildlife stewardship.  He also was the first recipient of the Aldo Leopold Memorial Award in 1950 — TWS’ highest honor for distinguished service to wildlife conservation.

Conservation pioneer J.N. “Ding” Darling.
Image Credit: Courtesy of Darling’s grandson Christopher “Kip” Koss


This award encompasses and recognizes any type of “artistic” item or accomplishment that promotes, achieves, or benefits wildlife stewardship.  It could be an actual artwork piece(s), an endeavor, such as organizing the greatest number of applicants in a wildlife art effort (e.g., the Junior Duck Stamp Program), a photograph or image (e.g., digital, film), an artistic conservation information delivery structure or process, or another medium that can be effectively described as an artistic way of promoting collaboration to support wildlife stewardship.

The key consideration in this award is to acknowledge vision, concept, design, and realization of artwork or art form that emulates what “Ding” Darling would have seen as conveying his message and values about land, water, and wildlife conservation.

The award consists of a plaque that will be presented at The Wildlife Society’s Annual Conference.  There is no monetary component to the award.

  • nomination relates to a recent (within three years prior to nomination deadline) artistic entity or the associated conservation outcome has demonstrably occurred within that time frame for an older artistic entity
  • there is a clear link between the art and a conservation message, effort, or outcome


  • A nomination narrative that clearly outlines the nominee’s contributions.
  • Letters from at least two individuals or groups other than the nominator have provided statements of support or concurrence regarding the nominated item
  • A high resolution image of the the nominee’s work.

Nominations will be judged by a subcommittee of at least five members appointed by the TWS president working in concert with Sam Koltinsky or a representative appointed thereof.

Nominations of unsuccessful candidates remain in the candidate pool for a maximum of three years, unless the individual is re-nominated

Nomination materials must be submitted via the online nominations system by May 1 at 11:59 PM ET.

For questions related to TWS Awards please email,




Melissa Groo
Erika Coover
No recipient
Arkansas Northern Bobwhite Conservation Stamp Project
Ross Hier
Donald T. Luce
Chester O. Martin
Robert Bateman
Maynard Reece