"Caller-Times" columnist David Sikes honored at 2012 Wetland Conservation Achievement Awards

CORPUS CHRISTI, Texas – March 16, 2012 – Ducks Unlimited announced today the winners of the 2012 Wetland Conservation Achievement Awards during the 77th North American Wildlife and Natural Resources Conference, held at the Hilton Atlanta. This year's winner in the Communications category is David Sikes, outdoors columnist for the "Corpus Christi Caller-Times."

"David has been a driving force for communicating issues important to waterfowl and wetlands conservation along the Gulf Coast and throughout Texas," said DU Chief Conservation Officer Paul Schmidt. "He has spent the last decade using his writing to promote the work of conservation organizations and the benefits that work provides hunters and waterfowl."

DU's Wetland Conservation Achievement Awards recognize individuals who have made outstanding contributions to the restoration and conservation of North America's wetlands and other waterfowl habitat.

As the "Caller-Times" outdoors columnist since 1998, Sikes serves as a regular and reliable source of conservation-related information for approximately 50,000 southeast Texans. Sikes also promotes the outdoor offerings of the Coastal Bend in multiple venues, including other newspaper columns, magazine articles and group presentations, including the Texas DU State Convention.

"David does a tremendous job covering important conservation issues along the Texas Gulf Coast, including promotion of freshwater inflows into Texas bay sand estuaries, seagrass protection throughout coastal Texas, invasive species problems, water availability issues and the economic impacts of hunting, fishing and other outdoor recreation," Schmidt said.

Sikes' friends and colleagues are quick to point out the writer's active pursuit of the topics he covers. Rather than sitting behind a computer wondering where his readers' interests lie, Sikes is out in the field, fishing the same waters and hunting the same areas.

"David is out there finding the stories. And he has a knack for seeing a much bigger picture. Corpus Christi is a long, long way from the Prairie Pothole Region, but through his writing, people along the Texas Gulf Coast understand the issues facing the Duck Factory," said David Schuessler, DU's national director of grassroots fundraising and a longtime friend of Sikes'. "David helps his readers understand the linkages between places as far removed as Eston, Saskatchewan, and Edna, Texas."

Sikes is a longtime member of the board of directors of the Texas Outdoor Writers Association and currently serves as the association's president. He has received numerous awards from TOWA and was named the 2012 Professional Conservationist of the Year by the Harvey Weil Foundation.

"Conservation is the lifeblood of hunting and fishing," Sikes said. "Without it, I, too, would wither and die along with the habitats I enjoy."

To view all 2012 Wetland Conservation Achievement Award winners, please visit www.ducks.org.

Ducks Unlimited is the world's largest nonprofit organization dedicated to conserving North America's continually disappearing waterfowl habitats. Established in 1937, DU is celebrating its 75th anniversary this year, with special events, projects and promotions across the continent. Ducks Unlimited has conserved more than 12 million acres thanks to contributions from more than a million supporters across the continent. Guided by science and dedicated to program efficiency, DU works toward the vision of wetlands sufficient to fill the skies with waterfowl today, tomorrow and forever.

Andi Cooper
(601) 956-1936