Dan Forster Earns Seth Gordon Award, AFWA’s Highest Honor

(from left) Dave Chanda, former president of the Association of Fish and Wildlife Agencies and director of New Jersey Division of Fish and Wildlife, and Dan Forster, Seth Gordon Award recipient.
Photo Credit: AFWA

Author: Heather Koehl

The Association of Fish and Wildlife Agencies (AFWA) recognized Dan Forster, the Archery Trade Association’s (ATA) director of government relations, for a lifetime of achievement in conserving North America’s natural resources. Forster received the Seth Gordon Award on September 13 at AFWA’s annual awards ceremony in Philadelphia.

“This is the greatest professional honor that I could ever receive,” Forster said. “I am truly humbled.”

In July, the ATA introduced Forster as its new director of government relations. He works in tandem with Mitch King, ATA’s director of government relations since 2007, and will assume the role fully in April 2017.

Forster started his career with the Georgia Department of Natural Resources (DNR) on the Georgia coast in 1990 and served the state for three decades. Later, as director of Georgia DNR’s Wildlife Resources Division, he was responsible for an agency with over 400 employees working in three sections and a budget of $60 million. The division is responsible for over 111 wildlife-management areas and 21 natural areas; as well as fishing, archery and hatchery facilities.

What is the Seth Gordon Award?

AFWA’s highest honor was created for and first presented to the award’s namesake, Seth Gordon, in 1970 in celebration of his five decades of service to AFWA and to the cause of wildlife conservation. “Seth Gordon was the epitome of the enlightened, able and progressive natural resources administrator who saw beyond the limits of one state to the international need, and worked accordingly and effectively,” the criteria state.

According to the AFWA, “the award is primarily designed to recognize an individual for his/her outstanding career in fish and wildlife conservation. Nominations must be submitted by an AFWA member.”

What was the Criteria?

“This is the greatest professional honor that I could ever receive,” Dan Forster said when accepting the Seth Gordon Award. “I am truly humbled.” Photo courtesy of AFWA

1. Non Political — The nominee’s essential contributions shall have been in the professional field as opposed to partisan political activities.

2. Public Agency Administrator — The nominee’s primary background leading to award consideration should be through work with a governmental agency (or agencies) affiliated with AFWA and not primarily through private organizations.

3. Association Contributions — The nominee shall have provided outstanding assistance, service or support to AFWA and its objectives.

4. Prolonged Service — The nominee shall have made diverse and valuable contributions to conservation objectives over a period of at least 20 years.

5. Additional Desirable Qualities — Other qualities desirable in a nominee include:

  • Continuing interest in natural resource problems and projects and/or AFWA;
  • Long-time interest in AFWA programs and enhancement of its purposes;
  • Outstanding leadership in provincial, state, commonwealth or federal administrative positions or a combination of any of these;
  • Unusual record of related additional natural resources activities at local, state, provincial or national level.

Similar Accomplishments

The Association of Fish and Wildlife Agencies (AFWA) recognized Dan Forster (pictured right), the Archery Trade Association’s (ATA) director of government relations, for a lifetime of achievement in conserving North America’s natural resources. Photo courtesy of AFWA

In addition to the Seth Gordon Award, Forster received three other recognitions in mid-September for his many years of working to conserve our nation’s natural resources.

During its Directors Luncheon on September 13, the Recreational Boating and Fishing Foundation recognized Forster with a conservation award for serving on the Recreational Boating and Fishing Foundation Board of Directors, his contributions to the boating and angling community, and for promoting initiatives that recruit, retain and re-engage – the so-called “R3” – hunters and anglers.

“We gave Dan an award for his service and for his work as a member of our Board of Directors in promoting our R3 initiatives not only in his own state but across the country,” said Frank Peterson Jr., Recreational Boating and Fishing Foundation president and CEO. “The work Dan and his team did in Georgia has established a foundation upon which the entire fishing and boating community can build their R3 efforts.”

Also on September 13, the National Wild Turkey Federation honored Forster for his contributions to wild turkey management and restoration, and to promoting our nation’s hunting heritage.

On September 11, Forster received a hand-carved canvasback decoy from Ducks Unlimited in honor of career contributions for waterfowl and migratory bird management, serving as past Atlantic Flyway Council Chairman and representing the Atlantic Flyway Council on the North American Wetlands Conservation Act Council.

Clearly, Forster brings a wealth of experience to his role as ATA’s director of government relations, and is well-respected among his peers and wildlife agencies. The ATA is pleased to have Forster lending his perspective and experience to the archery and bowhunting industry as a member of the ATA staff.

To learn more about the ATA’s director of government relations, read this Q & A with Dan Forster.

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