New England Backcountry Hunters & Anglers Chapter Board Member Patrick Saunders Receives Sigurd F. Olson Award

The Backcountry Hunters & Anglers Sigurd F. Olson Award recognizes outstanding effort conserving rivers, lakes or wetlandPatrick Saunders with Eastern Policy & Conservation Manager Chris Borgatti habitat. Patrick Saunders, a New England BHA Chapter Board Member, is the 2024 recipient of this prestigious award. He was honored during a ceremony at the BHA North American Rendezvous in Minneapolis, MN, on April 20.

Patrick is a dedicated conservationist who, like Olson, has a profound connection to place—specifically, the Great Marsh, which has been integral to his family's life for over six generations.

The Great Marsh, the largest salt marsh in New England, spans over 20,000 acres of marsh, barrier beach, tidal river, estuary, mudflat, and upland islands from Gloucester to Salisbury on the Massachusetts North Shore. Managed by state and federal agencies along with several land trusts, the Great Marsh benefits from Patrick's efforts to position BHA as a key partner in conservation. He has significantly raised awareness within the hunting and fishing community about the threats to this ecosystem and the remarkable opportunities it offers for shellfishing, waterfowl, and fishing.

Soft-spoken, knowledgeable, and authentic, Patrick has connected numerous individuals to the marsh and BHA through the New England Chapter’s Learn to Clam program, in collaboration with the Parker River National Wildlife Refuge. This program educates people who might not otherwise engage with a hunting and fishing organization about the importance of clean water, conservation, and the significance of harvesting their own food. Additionally, he has been instrumental in the success of AFI’s Northeast Leadership Development Duck Camp over the past two years.

Patrick resides near the Great Marsh with his family. He is a farrier, shell fisherman, scuba diver, runner, and a passionate lifelong public land hunter and angler.

Patrick Saunders’ trip to Rendezvous was funded through a generous donation from the Parkins Family. Their donation will support ongoing training, educational experiences, and certification programs, enhancing the expertise and skills of New England chapter volunteers. This will enable them to more effectively preserve North America's outdoor heritage of hunting and fishing in natural settings across New England and beyond.

About Chris Borgatti

BHA Eastern Policy & Conservation Manager

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