BIRMINGHAM, Ala. — For the second time in four years, the York Bassmasters club from the Ontario B.A.S.S. Federation Nation (OBFN) has won the Berkley Conservation Award for its multi-year restoration effort on Bogart Creek, a tributary of Lake Simcoe, one of Canada’s best smallmouth fisheries.
In addition, the Salt City Bassmasters from the New York B.A.S.S. Federation Nation (NYBFN) earned the Berkley Recruitment/Retention Award.
Both clubs were presented their awards during the Recognition Banquet, Feb. 25, as part of the 2012 Bassmaster Classic Conservation Summit.
“It is always a delight to read and judge the many entries in the competition for the Berkley awards for angler recruitment/retention and for conservation of our fishable waters,” said Jim Martin, conservation director for the Berkley Conservation Institute. “It reminds us of the commitment of B.A.S.S. anglers and Federation Nation organizations to give back to the habitat and resource that is the foundation of our sport and passion.
“Many people think that B.A.S.S. is just about fishing and tournaments, and this gives us an opportunity to show that B.A.S.S. is about so much more,” continued Martin. “We at Pure Fishing are delighted to continue the annual Berkley awards as a way to highlight the work and thank the passionate anglers.”
“I was very impressed with the 2011 submissions,” added Noreen Clough, B.A.S.S. national conservation director. “The conservation award submissions were all top-notch, and the choice was difficult.”
Work by the York Bassmasters was most impressive, she added, because it included so many elements, from fish sampling and restocking with Canada Fisheries to removal of invasive vegetation, tree plantings and trash cleanups.
“The York Bassmasters are honored to win the 2011 Berkley Conservation Award,” said Tony Dean, club conservation director. “Our ongoing conservation project will ensure Bogart Creek is restored to its natural splendor.
“As a tributary into Lake Simcoe, it is vital to ensure Bogart Creek and its wetlands are protected and enhanced, which will benefit future generations of anglers and outdoor enthusiasts.”
In winning the recruitment/retention award, the Salt City Bassmasters implemented a comprehensive restructure of its club and tournament format in an effort to recruit new anglers, as well as challenge and retain existing members.
Clough said that the New York anglers “met with a great deal of success with a documented model that can be replicated in total or in part by other Federation clubs.”
“We at Salt City are excited and honored by this award,” said Barb Elliott, Salt City Bassmasters vice president.
“We, as a club, are very aware that we need to do more than just pursue what makes us crazy — the green/bronze fish. We need to attract and retain club members who are willing to do things beyond just fishing.
“The more people we involve in our passion, the easier it is to get positive things accomplished,” continued Elliott. “Winning this support form Berkley is an important step in helping us accomplish these objectives.”
Elliott added that winning the conservation award a few years ago for an aquatic invasive species project also was instrumental in helping the club continue its work.
“We appreciate the efforts Berkley invests into assisting anglers of all passions,” said Elliott.
If your club has been involved in projects regarding access, cleanup, invasive species or other conservation work, you can submit your club's information for inclusion in the Annual Achievements in Conservation report. Entries for the 2012 Berkley Conservation and Recruitment/Retention awards will be accepted later this year.