Carl N. Becker Stewardship Award

Pictured: Carl Becker | Photo courtesy of Peggy Becker

NAA Carl N. Becker Stewardship Award


The NAA recognizes individuals or groups who have demonstrated excellence in natural area stewardship. The Carl N. Becker Stewardship Award is given in recognition of excellence and achievement in managing the natural resources of reserves, parks, wilderness, and other protected areas.

This award is given in honor of Carl N. Becker, former NAA president and conservation leader with the Illinois Endangered Species Protection Board, Illinois Department of Natural Resources, and the Illinois Chapter of the Nature Conservancy. Carl brought leadership skills to all phases of his conservation career – he was an excellent field biologist, bureaucrat, and political thinker. He knew how to inspire his staff to work together to do more than they could possibly do on their own and encouraged new ideas to approach unresolved issues.

Some examples of Carl‘s leadership that have benefited natural area conservation locally, regionally and nationally, include:

  • He led the development of Illinois legislation dedicating a portion of the state real estate transfer tax to the Natural Areas Acquisition Fund, which supports natural areas acquisition and stewardship and the operations of Illinois‘ Nature Preserves, Natural Heritage, and Endangered Species programs;
  • He championed Illinois legislation for the Wildlife Preservation Fund income tax check-off that conserves non-game wildlife and habitat.
  • He acted as a state and regional leader working with the Teaming with Wildlife Coalition to urge Congressional approval in 2000 for the establishment of the USFWS State & Tribal Wildlife Grant (SWG) program. During the first 13 years of the program, it dedicated over $760M to fish and wildlife conservation programs and projects across the nation.

The award:

  1. Recognizes individuals or groups who have resolved or made a significant contribution to an issue related to identification, protection, and/or management of natural areas, and the mission of the NAA
  2. Recognizes individuals or groups who have developed creative or innovative strategies which have directly contributed to resolution of issues or otherwise greatly improved protection of natural areas.
  3. Recognizes individuals or groups who have made a major advance in the protection of natural areas and wildlands

NAA Award recipients receive:

  • Award presentation at the annual NAA Awards Dinner during the Natural Areas Conference.
  • Complimentary registration and travel to the Natural Areas Conference.
  • Recognition in all NAA publications, websites, and social media.


Join the people who protect and manage our natural areas.