NEW MEXICO (KRQE) – The state’s wildlife conservationists are being recognized nationally for their quality of leadership. The National Wildlife Federation has named the New Mexico Wildlife Federation ‘Affiliate of the Year,” and Executive Director Jesse Deubel ‘Conservationist of the Year.’

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The New Mexico Wildlife Federation was founded in 1914 by Aldo Leopold to protect the state’s wildlife, habitat, and public lands. “Between successfully defending water access in the New Mexico Supreme Court and spearheading the Nature Niños program for underserved families, New Mexico Wildlife Federation under Jesse’s leadership has emerged as a conservation powerhouse nationally,” said Colin O’Mara, president and CEO of the National Wildlife Federation. “Jesse and his team have repeatedly demonstrated creativity and resourcefulness in their efforts to protect New Mexico’s wildlife, waters, and wild places.”

The National Wildlife Federation Conservation Achievement Awards started in 1966 and gives recognition to people and organizations that make outstanding contributions to protecting wildlife. Past recipients include former Presidents Jimmy Carter and Bill Clinton, First Ladies Lady Bird Johnson and Michelle Obama, and also U.S. Sen. John McCain.