Bass Pro founder Johnny Morris has been given an extremely rare honor: the Audubon Medal.
The Medal is given for “outstanding achievement in the field of conservation and environmental protection.” Morris is only the 58th person since 1947 to receive the award, joining such luminaries as former President Jimmy Carter, CNN founder Ted Turner, and British documentarian Sir David Attenborough.
“To be awarded the Audubon medal is one of the proudest and most humbling experiences of my life,” Morris said. “To be included among the other 58 conservationists to receive this high honor alongside such visionary leaders as Walt Disney, J.N. ‘Ding’ Darling, President Jimmy Carter and others, is a great honor. I’m very proud to share this with my family, and our extended family – the many passionate, conservation-minded people in our company and the sportsmen and women we are blessed to serve.”
Morris is known for crediting his days on the streams in the Missouri Ozarks with his family as the inspiration for starting Bass Pro Shops. Morris credits his time hunting and fishing for being a driving force in his efforts for conservation.
“What many people don’t realize is that John James Audubon and President Theodore Roosevelt were not only heroes in conservation, they were also sportsmen and hunters. Over many hours spent in the field hunting, they gained a better appreciation for our nation’s fish and wildlife and the habitats required to sustain them,” said Morris. “I hope they are both looking down smiling and happy that we are all here as one united, inclusive family working with passion to carry on the important mission they outlined for us many years ago – to be good stewards of God’s creation and to protect the wild places so that future generations, our kids and grandkids, can have the same opportunities we have to experience the wonders of the natural world.”
Morris accepted the award with his wife Jeanie and their children John Paul, Megan, Julie and Jennifer.
“Johnny has instilled a love of wildlife in millions upon millions of children across America,” said Colin O’Mara, CEO of the National Wildlife Federation. “He’s advancing conservation in every part of the country. And he’s leaving a legacy that will inspire young conservationists for centuries.”