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Community Spotlight: National Audubon Society Announces 2014 Volunteer Callison Award Winners


BRADENTON – The National Audubon Society has awarded its 2014 Callison Award for Volunteers to Manatee County residents Bob and Nancy Dean, active members of Manatee County Audubon Society (MCAS) since 1987. The award was announced on May 16th at the National Audubon Society board of directors meeting in Seattle.

Now in their 20th year, Audubon’s Callison Award recognizes volunteers, nominated by their peers, who have made remarkable contributions to conservation through coalition-building, creative thinking and perseverance. Only one person or group is selected as the Callison Award winner in the volunteer category from nominations submitted during the prior 12 months from all Audubon chapters across America. It’s Audubon’s equivalent to the national “Hall of Fame”.

During the awards ceremony, the Deans were recognized for their many contributions to conservation and education. Bob and Nancy worked tirelessly to help halt construction of a convention center and hotel that would have disrupted a mangrove rookery in Sarasota Bay. One of only 21 remaining estuaries in the United States, Sarasota Bay is a key habitat for many North American birds and other wildlife. The couple also created a digital avian library through their Chapter’s website that has become a resource for newsletters, educational seminars, and even college-level research. In a dozen years, their annual Basic Bird Identification Class has fledged almost 400 birders. And that’s only one of the many workshops and birding trips they have led for Audubon. They were honored by Manatee County Audubon Society in April with the Great Egret Award for contributing over 20 years of exceptional service to Manatee Audubon.

Bob & Nancy’s career backgrounds established a level of professionalism that they brought as Audubon volunteers. Bob served as a Lt Col in the USAF and Nancy served as an RN; both shared their knowledge as former college professors. Although they chose to eschew elected office in Manatee County Audubon during their 27 years of continuous active participation, their leadership from within provided a solid foundation for future conservation initiatives and existing program enhancements. As Bob often remarks, their “mutual passion for birding has been the glue for their marriage” as they trekked the globe to see over 4,100 different bird species on their life list.

“Whether protecting threatened habitat, inspiring new and veteran birders through classes and workshops, or leading restoration initiatives,” said Peg Olsen, Chief Conservation Officer for National Audubon Society, “Bob and Nancy Dean are a primal force for Florida conservation.” The Deans were among the core group of volunteers who developed Felts Audubon Preserve in Palmetto, FL; this location is known for attracting Painted Buntings, among the most colorful small birds during winter months in Manatee County.

Nancy and Bob Dean being presented with the 2014 Charles H. Callison Award certificate & 

Great Egret print by National Audubon Society president, David Yarnold, at the National Audubon

board of directors meeting in Seattle on May 16, 2014.

Charles H. Callison served with National Audubon Society from 1960 to 1977. An eminent conservationist, he was instrumental in Audubon’s fight to pass the Wilderness Act of 1964, including the Clean Air and Water acts, the Endangered Species Act, the National Environmental Policy Act, and the Toxic Substances Control Act. A firm believer in the strength of the grassroots, he expanded the reach of Audubon by chartering and supporting hundreds of new chapters nationwide.

About Audubon

The National Audubon Society saves birds and their habitats throughout the Americas using science, advocacy, education and on-the-ground conservation. Audubon’s state programs, nature centers, chapters and partners have an unparalleled wingspan that reaches millions of people each year to inform, inspire and unite diverse communities in conservation action. Since 1905, Audubon’s vision has been a world in which people and wildlife thrive. Audubon is a nonprofit conservation organization. Learn more at www.audubon.org and @audubonsociety.

About Manatee County Audubon

Manatee County Audubon is a chapter of National Audubon Society with a mission is to promote the conservation and appreciation of birds and wildlife habitat. We accomplish this through maintaining critical habitat like the Felts Audubon Preserve, offering education programs for children and adults, leading advocacy efforts, and participating in land conservation projects. Our activities extend beyond Manatee County when we work with other organizations to accomplish a conservation purpose. Learn more at www.ManateeAudubon.org


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