May 2, 2022
Bonefish & Tarpon Trust will honor Matt Connolly with the Lefty Kreh Award for Lifetime Achievement in Conservation at the organization’s 7th International Science Symposium & Flats Expo, November 4-5, 2022, at the PGA National Resort in Palm Beach, FL.
“Matt Connolly shaped the cause of conservation in our nation,” said BTT President and CEO Jim McDuffie. “His leadership and his legacy are evident at many organizations, including Bonefish & Tarpon Trust, Ducks Unlimited, and the Theodore Roosevelt Conservation Partnership. Matt joined us at a critical moment in our development, and his efforts positioned BTT to become an effective conservation organization in Florida and across the range of flats species in this hemisphere.”
A lifelong conservationist, Connolly began his career as the state ornithologist of the Commonwealth of Massachusetts, where he served as assistant commissioner of natural resources, director of conservation services, director of coastal zone management, and director of fisheries and wildlife. Connolly went on to hold leadership positions at Ducks Unlimited (DU), serving as its first director of development and then as executive vice-president.
During that period, Connolly also served as first COO of Wetlands America Trust as well as chairman of the North American Waterfowl Management Plan Implementation Committee. Subsequently, he was appointed to the newly created North American Wetlands Council by the Bush and Clinton administrations and elected by the council as its first chairman.
Following his retirement from DU in 1999, Connolly served as the first president and CEO of the Theodore Roosevelt Conservation Partnership (TRCP). In 2005, he joined the Bonefish & Tarpon Trust Board of Directors, where he went on to serve as Board President for 10 years. During his tenure, the organization began translating research results into fisheries policy and witnessed significant growth in membership, revenues, and visibility, the latter including his collaborative role in helping to bring the popular fishing show, Buccaneers & Bones, to television
Connolly has also served on three corporate boards and on the board of the federal Recreational Boating and Fishing Foundation. He is the recipient of the Chevron/Times Mirror National Conservation Award and the U.S Forest Service Chief’s Conservation Leadership Award.
As a 2022 award recipient, Connolly will be enshrined with other legends in BTT’s Circle of Honor, which is housed in the Florida Keys History & Discovery Center in Islamorada, Florida.
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