Averett Recognized as 2010 Land Conservationist of the Year

September 6, 2011

Research Triangle Park, NC – Ernest B. “Ernie” Averett of Oxford has been honored as the Land Conservationist of the Year at the 48th Annual Governor’s Conservation Achievement Awards banquet.  The NC Wildlife Federation and the National Wildlife Federation sponsor this awards program to highlight individuals and organizations that exemplify conservation activism across the state.  The awards banquet was held August 27, 2011, at the Hilton RTP Hotel.

Mr. Averett, President of Tar River Land Conservancy, provides remarks after receiving his award. (Photo courtesy of Dr. David Blevins, all rights reserved.)

Averett farms and manages his 880-acre family farm in central Granville County on the Tar River as a seventh-generation farmer.  Averett and his family have demonstrated their commitment to land conservation by protecting more than ninety percent of their family farm with conservation easements, ensuring permanent protection of water quality, wildlife habitat, and highly productive agricultural and timber land.

After serving as a Granville County Commissioner from 1998 to 2000, Averett helped found the Tar River Land Conservancy, a non-profit land trust based in Louisburg that works to protect farmland, forests, and wildlife habitat from development.  Averett has devoted thousands of hours of his time to lead Tar River Land Conservancy over the last decade, serving on its Board of Directors and promoting its mission throughout the region.  Under his leadership, Tar River Land Conservancy has protected more than 16,800 acres across eight counties.


Ernie Averett (center) of Oxford receives the Land Conservationist of the Year from David Knight (left), Assistant Secretary of the NC Department of Environment and Natural Resources, and John Crutchfield (right), President of the NC Wildlife Federation. (Photo courtesy of Dr. David Blevins, all rights reserved.)

“The Tar River defines the term ‘hidden jewel’,” remarked T. Edward Nickens, master of ceremonies at the awards banquet. “Most folks don’t hear much about the Tar River—it’s hidden in the rolling farmland and forest country of the eastern Piedmont…  But it’s a jewel because of the care and commitment of people like Ernie Averett.”

Averett was one of twenty individuals and organizations recognized at the recent banquet. “This awards program brings together a remarkably diverse group of conservationists to highlight the ‘good news’ about wildlife conservation in North Carolina,” said Tim Gestwicki, Executive Director of the NC Wildlife Federation. “Our primary focus is to applaud and honor these people who work so hard for wildlife and the air, water, land that they and all of us depend upon.”