RICHMOND, VA- The Department of Game and Inland Fisheries (DGIF) is pleased to announce that DGIF Board Member Karen Terwilliger of Locustville has received the 2019 Robert McDowell Award for Conservation Management Excellence, the highest honor awarded by the Northeast Association of Fish and Wildlife Agencies (NEAFWA). Ms. Terwilliger is a career natural resource professional with 40 years of experience working in the federal, state, and private sectors and received the Award at the Association’s annual awards ceremony held on April 15, 2019 in Groton, Connecticut.

The Robert McDowell Award was established by the Directors of the Northeast Association of Fish and Wildlife Agencies to honor career professionals who have made significant contributions to advance fish and wildlife conservation in the Northeastern United States and eastern Canadian Provinces. Ms. Terwilliger is the founder and principal of Terwilliger Consulting, Inc. She has demonstrated a deep commitment to the conservation of fish and wildlife diversity in the Northeast Region and beyond for four decades. Karen began her life-long work strategically protecting species as a state agency and federal agency biologist managing both game and nongame species, and then as the first Nongame and Endangered Wildlife Program Manager for the DGIF. After transitioning to consulting, she continued to work with integrity and passion for the stewardship of fish and wildlife resources.

On September 21, 2018, Karen was named by Governor Ralph Northam to serve as a member of DGIF, representing Region 1 of the Commonwealth. Karen has offered her expertise and leadership to numerous organizations including The Wildlife Society, the Association of Fish and Wildlife Agencies, and her local land trust. In addition, her 70-acre homestead on the Eastern Shore of Virginia is managed as migratory bird habitat and more than 1,000 people tour her demonstration farm every year.

This award is presented to an individual who meets the following criteria:

  • Has a long-term commitment to fish and wildlife resources and the stewardship of those resources; –
  • Has made outstanding achievements on behalf of those resources as well as in the field of fish and wildlife management;
  • Has fostered a vision for the future preservation, conservation and use of those resources and an ability to affect change toward that vision;
  • Who nurtures and supports future generations of natural resource managers through innovative information, education, and outreach; and
  • Who has an affiliation of some type with the Northeast Association of Fish and Wildlife Agencies.

The Northeast Association of Fish & Wildlife Agencies, Inc. (NEAFWA) is a quasi-governmental organization consisting of thirteen states in the northeast region plus the District of Columbia, and the provinces in the eastern region of Canada. Additional information about NEAFWA is available at



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