Gary Myers is the Retired (Emeritus) Director of the Tennessee Wildlife Resource Agency. He has been involved with the Joint Ventures since their inception. After the North American Waterfowl Management Plan was signed in 1986 and called for the establishment of Joint Ventures to implement waterfowl habitat conservation, Gary set the standard for what a JV would look like and how they would function. He directly helped set up the Lower Mississippi Valley and Gulf Coast Joint Ventures in 1987 and 1988, respectively. When the Joint Ventures broadened their focus to include all bird groups, a decision in which Gary was extremely influential, he was key in the development of the Central Hardwoods JV, one of the first to be formed with this “all-bird” approach. More broadly, Gary was an advocate for Joint Ventures across the continent and pushed for “wall-to-wall” coverage across the nation.

Gary worked for the enactment of the North American Wetlands Conservation Act, recognizing how important that would be for bird populations across North America. By his retirement in 2009, the Tennessee Wildlife Resources Agency had contributed a total of over $2.6 million to NAWCA projects, which when combined with DU, NAWCA, and Canadian partner dollars put $10 million worth of conservation on the ground to serve waterfowl habitat needs in Canada. He engineered two efforts by the Association of Fish and Wildlife Agencies that highlighted the need for state contributions to NAWCA projects in Canada. These efforts are in large part responsible for many more millions of dollars of funds sent to Canada for waterfowl habitat conservation across all its provinces.

Gary was one of the three representatives from the U.S. (together with three from Mexico and three from Canada) to get the North American Bird Conservation Initiative up and running. He was influential in the development of the Association of Fish and Wildlife Agencies’ Southern Wings program that is now working with the states to get funds to projects in the Caribbean and Latin America.

For his long-term commitment and dedication to innovatively working across boundaries for migratory bird conservation, we are honored to present Gary Myers with the 2012 North American Migratory Bird Joint Venture Conservation Champion Award for a Professional.