At a June 20 ceremony held during the National Wildlife Federation’s 80th anniversary celebration in Estes Park, Colorado, former U.S. Representative Thomas B. Evans, Jr. received the National Conservation Leadership Award for “exemplary conservation accomplishment.”
“Thomas Evans’ conservation legacy spans the country from Alaska to Florida,” said Collin O’Mara, president and CEO of the National Wildlife Federation. “During his years in the House serving Delaware, Evans’ signature strategy was to bring together diverse coalitions around a common goal. For example, Evans was the primary author of the Coastal Barrier Resources Act that was passed by Congress nearly unanimously. Evans was also instrumental in the passage of the Alaska Land’s Act. In the decades since his time in Congress, Evans has continued his tireless efforts on behalf of our nation’s waters and wildlife.”
“In accepting this honor I do so in remembrance of those many friends in Congress. They were an integral part of our success in securing passage of legislation that was strongly opposed by major special interest groups and their phalanx of lawyers and lobbyists who were paid millions of dollars to defeat us,” Evans said when accepting the award. “We won because Democrats and Republicans worked together and that spirit of working together needs to be rekindled.”
Over the past five decades, Evans is credited with a conservation legacy that spans the country from Alaska to Florida. Known for an approach that often brought together diverse coalitions to achieve important conservation objectives, Evans was the primary author of the Coastal Barrier Resources Act (CBRA), which achieved – after major battles – bipartisan and nearly unanimous passage by Congress. The legislation has been called “the most important environmental law nobody has ever heard of.”
Evans was also instrumental in the passage of the Alaska Land’s Act, which established or expanded vast new national parks, forests and wildlife refuges on millions of acres. Upon leaving office, Evans continued to lobby former colleagues on these critical issues – mostly on his own time and his own dime.
He has also served on the Florida Wildlife Federation (FWF) Board of Directors, during which time he continued to influence conservation efforts by promoting the benefits of important issues to wildlife habitats, public safety, and savings to American taxpayers. Most recently, Evans collaborated on the production of “Battle for the Barriers,” a documentary exploring sea level rise and adaptation strategies in states along the Eastern U.S. seaboard.