Audubon Chapter and Volunteer Awards

Recognizing those individuals who work tirelessly on behalf of birds

Callison Award

Now in their 20th year, Audubon’s Callison Award annually recognizes volunteers, nominated by their peers, who have made remarkable contributions to conservation through coalition-building, creative thinking and perseverance. 

Bob and Nancy Dean, active members of Manatee County Audubon Society since 1987, received the 2014 Callison Award for Volunteers. The Deans were recognized for their many contributions to conservation and education at an awards ceremony which took place during the May 2014 National Audubon Society board meeting.

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’ve led for Audubon. 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.”

Charles H. Callison served with National Audubon Society from 1960 to 1977. 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. As firm believer in the strength of the grassroots, Callison expanded the reach of Audubon by chartering and supporting hundreds of new chapters nationwide.

Audubon Great Egret Award

Audubon’s Great Egret Award recognizes dedicated individuals who have made significant long-term contributions to Audubon and conservation in pursuit of the Audubon mission. All volunteers or staff members who have worked for 20 years or more at the local chapter, center, state, regional and/or national level are eligible.

Don Bansen, 2014 Great Egret Award Winner

Don Bansen was nominated by his chapter for one of the 2014 awards. Don has served Manatee County Audubon Society in various capacities for more than 20 years. During that time, he led the organization, raised funds, and guided MCAS through declines in membership, the growing pains of maintaining Felts Audubon Preserve, and changes in philosophy and direction of the society itself. His work as historian, preserving Audubon’s heritage is invaluable. Don, each and every member of Manatee Audubon thanks you for what you have given freely of yourself these many years!