One of Pheasants Forever & Quail Forever’s longest tenured staff members, Dave Nomsen, was honored last week at the 81st North American Wildlife and Natural Resources Conference with the George Bird Grinnell Memorial Award for Distinguished Service to Natural Resource Conservation.
The Memorial Award was initiated 16 years ago in the memory of George Bird Grinnell – the acknowledged “Father of American Conservation” – who was remarkably diverse in lending his time, foresight and talents to the causes of wildlife protection and management, habitat restoration and wildlands preservation. He was the consummate sportsman and conservation mentor to Theodore Roosevelt. Through his writings, his Forest and Stream magazine, political activism and, by nature of his low-key, persuasive personality, he helped ensure that conservation emerged as a permanent part of the national agenda. The same unassuming and selfless qualities of character, and the same intelligence, diplomacy, and leadership for the nation’s natural resources are what distinguish Grinnell Award recipients.
“The George Bird Grinnell Memorial Award is the Wildlife Management Institute’s highest individual honor, and considered by many to be the most distinguished award in the natural resource management community,” stated Matt Dunfee, programs manager for the Wildlife Management Institute. “This award recognizes Dave Nomsen for dedicating his life and career to natural resource protection, and prudently doing so quietly, tenaciously, and behind the façade of credit and professional accolade.”
Nomsen is now Pheasants Forever’s director in South Dakota following more than two decades as the organization’s vice president of government affairs. Nomsen is a Clear Lake, Iowa native, where his father was the chief pheasant biologist for the Iowa Conservation Commission (now the Iowa Department of Natural Resources). Following his father’s conservation lead, Nomsen received a master’s in wildlife management from South Dakota State University. He has been with Pheasants Forever since 1992, where he began as PF’s wildlife biologist for Minnesota. Nomsen has spent the last two decades as the organization’s voice on Capitol Hill and one of the most respected and knowledgeable advocates in support of federal farm conservation programs; including the Conservation Reserve Program (CRP). With extensive experience in wetlands conservation, Nomsen also worked with South Dakota’s Cooperative Wildlife Research Unit during the 1970s and has served on the North American Wetlands Conservation Council for the last two decades and under three different presidents.