PIERRE, S.D. – A longtime and dedicated Aberdeen conservationist was honored at Gov. Daugaard’s Annual Invitational Pheasant Hunt.
Tim Kessler received the Distinguished Conservation Service Award, recognizing his time, effort and resources dedicated to protecting South Dakota’s outdoor heritage of hunting, fishing and camping.
“Tim walks the conservation walk and talks the habitat talk,” said Game, Fish and Parks Secretary Kelly Hepler. “He actively practices habitat conservation on his own land and was instrumental in the planning and implementation of the 2013 Governor’s Pheasant Habitat Summit. I can’t imagine a more deserving outdoorsman for this first ever award.”
Kessler guided conversations and participated in the Habitat Work Group, which focused on bringing outdoor enthusiasts and agricultural producers to the table together to find workable, effective habitat solutions. He also committed the first $100,000 to kick off the Habitat Conservation Fund.
“Tim has taken this Habitat Conservation Fund to heart and is now spearheading a one million dollar matching challenge for habitat,” said Hepler. “I know with Tim’s backing we will get it done.“
Kessler is active in national conservation efforts as a member of the national Pheasants Forever Board of Directors and a supporter of Ducks Unlimited.
Kessler previously served as a Game, Fish and Parks Commissioner, serving as chairman over most of his 14 years on the Commission. During that time he oversaw the establishment of the Sioux Falls Outdoor Campus and the completion of the Mickelson Trail in the Black Hills as well as aided in hunting and wildlife management decisions.
For more information on the Habitat Conservation Fund, visit:habitat.sd.gov/resources/