Award Categories

Alaska Conservation Foundation honors individuals for a range of work

Lifetime Achievement Award
  • Purpose: Celebrates the accomplishments of remarkable individuals who have made a difference by devoting significant parts of their lives to protecting and enhancing Alaska’s natural greatness, and thanks them for their tireless dedication and advocacy. Nominees should be at least 60 years of age or have dedicated 30 or more years of their life to Alaska conservation.

Olaus Murie Award for Outstanding Professional Contributions
  • Purpose: Recognizes longstanding service to Alaska by individuals working in a non-profit organization or a public agency responsible for the environment. These individuals have demonstrated strong leadership skills and helped build a more influential conservation movement in Alaska. 
  • Named for: Olaus Murie, a wildlife biologist who spent many years in Alaska’s wild places as an employee of the Department of Interior.
  • Prize: The award winner has the opportunity to recommend a grant to the organization of their choice.

Celia Hunter Award for Outstanding Volunteer Contributions
  • Purpose: Honors leaders in the grassroots, volunteer environmental movement in Alaska. These individuals are active on a state or nationwide level, are ardent conservation supporters and have made a positive, solutions-based difference for Alaska’s conservation movement over many years.
  • Named for: Celia Hunter, ACF’s co-founder, a pioneer conservationist, and advocate for Alaska’s wild places.
  • Prize: The award winner has the opportunity to recommend a grant to the organization of their choice.

Denny Wilcher Award for Young Environmental Activists
  • Purpose: Acknowledges Alaska high school seniors who have made significant contributions to their communities and who seek solutions to environmental problems and issues. These individuals act as leaders among their peers and have demonstrated, through school and extracurricular activities, their care and deep concern for conserving the environment.
  • Named for: James D. “Denny” Wilcher, ACF’s co-founder, and reflects his lifelong commitment to protecting the wild places on earth.
  • Prize: Cash award to assist the student in future endeavors. (Since this award recognizes service rather than academic achievement, it is not a scholarship, but students are encouraged to use the award to further their education.) 

Lowell Thomas, Jr. Award for Outstanding Achievements by an Organization Doing Conservation Work
  • Purpose: Recognizes an Alaska-based organization or program that demonstrates an extraordinary commitment to conservation through innovative problem solving, effective citizen engagement, and collaborative actions.
  • Named for: Lowell Thomas, Jr., distinguished former Lt. Governor and state senator, whose conservation efforts have preserved special places for the enjoyment of current and future generations.
  • Prize: Cash award is presented to the recognized organization or program.

Jerry S. Dixon Award for Excellence in Environmental Education
  • Purpose: Rewards innovative educators who integrate stewardship of Alaska’s natural environment into their instructive efforts. These individuals, who may teach in any discipline and include experiential and outdoor educators, demonstrate a long history of service with students and outstanding, innovative contributions in conservation education.
  • Named for: Jerry Dixon, a McAuliffe Fellow and former teacher of the gifted in Seward, Alaska.
  • Prize: Cash award. 

Daniel Housberg Wilderness Image Award for Excellence in Still Photography, Film, or Video 
  • Purpose: Awards film, video, and still photography projects that advance the protection of Alaska’s wilderness environment, further discussion of issues relating to habitat and stewardship of Alaska’s natural resources, and enhance public education relating to these areas.
  • Named for: Daniel Housberg, an avid outdoorsman and news photographer, producer, and videographer.
  • Prize: Cash award. 

Caleb Pungowiyi Award for Outstanding Achievements by an Alaska Native Organization or Individual 
  • Purpose: This award recognizes an Alaska Native organization, program or individual working to protect their environment and culture through innovative problem solving, collaboration, effective communication, and building conservation support within the Native Community.
  • Named for: Caleb Pungowiyi, a Siberian Yup’ik from the community of Savoonga on St. Lawrence Island, who worked tirelessly to protect the vital link between Alaska Native culture and a healthy environment.
  • Prize: Cash award.