To recognize and honor significant contributions and steadfast dedication of our members to wildlife conservation in the San Joaquin Valley, we developed the Champions for Wildlife award to commemorate deserving or otherwise dedicated members of the San Joaquin Valley Chapter. As we all know, the San Joaquin Valley has experienced precipitous declines in natural habitats, native species, ecological connectivity, and ecosystem health. Because of that, we recognize that a number of individuals, many of whom are members of this Chapter, are essential to the management and protection of the often small, remnant “islands” of natural lands that remain. Their contributions to science and understanding of San Joaquin Valley ecology are highly valuable and deserve recognition, and this award is but an attempt to shine some light on the people who work every day to save, preserve, or otherwise protect our native species and lands.
The first recipient of this award was Erin Tennant, Environmental Scientist with the California Department of Fish and Wildlife. Erin was recognized for her outstanding dedication as a longtime active member of the San Joaquin Valley Chapter board, including her consistent involvement in planning, organizing, and implementing various events and workshops including the biannual blunt-nosed leopard lizard ecology and survey techniques workshop, and for her important role as a research biologist in the SJV where she studies many of our iconic protected species. She was presented with the award by then-president Kris Robison at the Chapter board meeting on February 9th, 2017, which coincided with the Western Section annual conference in Reno, NV.
2017: Erin Tennant
2018: Steve Juarez
2019: Christine Van Horn Job
2020: Howard Clark