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EENC Member Terri McLeod Receives NC Wildlife Federation Governor's Conservation Achievement Award

Congratulations to EENC Member Terri McLeod on being named a recipient of the 2023 Governor's Conservation Achievement Award by the North Carolina Wildlife Federation! The award recognizes leaders in environmental and wildlife conservation and stewardship: Terri was selected as this year's Environmental Educator of the Year Award Recipient due to her "exceptional contributions to environmental education at Kingswood Elementary and the surrounding [Cary] community."


The North Carolina Wildlife Federation has announced the winners of its 59th Annual Governor’s Conservation Achievement Awards. Honorees for 2023 include agency professionals, elected officials, volunteers and organizations committed to North Carolina’s wildlife, habitat and natural resources.

The Federation will honor the 18 award recipients, including the wildlife enforcement and marine patrol officers of the year, at a banquet on Saturday, September 9 at Embassy Suites in Cary, NC. (RSVP and purchase tickets for the 59th Annual Governor’s Conservation Achievement Awards.)

“Each year, we’re amazed by the commitment and creativity of North Carolinians working to protect the wildlife, air, water and land we all depend on,” said T. Edward Nickens, NCWF awards committee chair. “This year’s conservation heroes are land stewardship champions, water advocates and leaders in the preservation of unique ecosystems — and we’re thrilled to be able to honor them in person at our banquet this year.”

These annual awards provide a platform to highlight inspiring wildlife conservation efforts across North Carolina, with the goal of encouraging active participation in safeguarding the state’s natural resources for the well-being of future generations.

2023 Governor’s Conservation Achievement Award Recipients

  • Conservation Hall of Fame – Derb S. Carter, Jr. (Chapel Hill)

  • Conservationist of the Year – Louis Bacon

  • Wildlife Conservationist of the Year – Joe Madison (Manteo)

  • Sportsman of the Year – Joel McDaniel (Belhaven)

  • Land Conservationist of the Year – Haywood Rankin (Gastonia)

  • Water Conservationist of the Year – Pat Donovan-Brandenburg (Jacksonville)

  • Forest Conservationist of the Year – Mavis Gragg (Durham)

  • Environmental Educator of the Year – Terri McLeod (Cary)

  • Young Conservationist of the Year Lauren D. Pharr (Raleigh)

  • Conservation Organization of the Year – EcoForesters (Asheville)

  • Legislator of the Year – Kyle Hall (King)

  • Business Conservationist of the Year – Atlantic Packaging (Wilmington)

  • Natural Resources Scientist of the Year – Travis Wilson (Creedmoor)

  • Wildlife Volunteer of the Year – Monty Morée (Holly Springs)

  • Public Lands Conservationist of the Year – Brandon Jones (Fontana Dam)

  • NCWF Chapter of the Year – MARSH (Marvin Area for the Restoration and Sustainability of Wildlife Habitat) (Marvin)

  • NCWF Affiliate of the Year – Wake County Wildlife Club (Raleigh)

  • Wildlife Enforcement Officer of the Year – Ryan Biggerstaff (La Grange)

  • Marine Patrol Officer of the Year – Zac Nelson (Beaufort)

Environmental Educator of the Year

Terri McLeod (Cary)

Terri McLeod, affectionately known as “The Native Plant Lady,” has made exceptional contributions to environmental education at Kingswood Elementary and the surrounding community. Her love for nature and sustainability, along with her incorporation of environmental education into the curriculum, has sparked a transformative and lasting impact, fostering a deep appreciation for science and the natural world among students from diverse backgrounds. Terri’s infectious enthusiasm and mantra of “Science is everywhere” resonate throughout the school, igniting a love for learning and the environment.



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