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Three Ohioans Receive State's Top Conservation Honor

Ohioans recognized for their efforts to keep our state beautiful.

Three people have been awarded Ohio’s highest conservation honor for their outstanding contributions to the protection and enjoyment of the state’s natural resources.   

Welcome to the Ohio Natural Resources Hall of Fame husband and wife conservationists Clyde Gosnell and Dr. Louise (Omie) Warner of Ashville and water quality and scenic rivers advocate Mike Fremont of Glendale. 

“Ohio is fortunate to have so many committed conservationists with a deep passion for educating and including the public in their work, their positive influence will continue to impact our state far into the future.”

ODNR Director Mary Mertz

The three people inducted have devoted much of their lives to safeguarding the beauty of Ohio’s natural landscape for today’s enjoyment and for future generations. Each has served their respective communities, and the state, for decades. 

Clyde Gosnell and Omie Warner

CClyde and Omie Warnerlyde Gosnell and Omie Warner have dedicated their lives to the protection, preservation, and enhancement of Ohio's environment and its precious natural resources, with their accomplishments over the last 30 years being particularly noteworthy. Omie and her late husband, Dr. Jack Warner, founded the Stratford Ecological Center, located in Delaware. This 236-acre site consists of a non-profit educational organic farm and nature preserve. Clyde helped found the Appalachia Ohio Alliance, a regional non-profit conservancy dedicated to the conservation and stewardship of natural land and water areas throughout Southeastern Ohio. More recent accomplishments for this dynamic couple include being the driving force behind the building of the John Glenn Astronomy Park and the re-routing of State Route 664 near Hocking Hills State Park to improve visitor safety. Both Clyde and Omie are members of numerous ecological, agricultural, and conservation-based organizations and have created a legacy of environmental, agricultural, and natural resource protection and conservation for the benefit of Ohio and its people.  

Mike Fremont

Mike FremontMike Fremont is a dedicated river conservationist whose decades of work for Ohio's waterways is a lasting gift to generations of Ohioans. A founding member of the Little Miami Conservancy, he was instrumental in the creation of the Ohio Scenic Rivers Program in 1968 and the designation of the Little Miami River as Ohio’s first state scenic river in 1969 and its designation as the state's first national scenic river in 1973. Mike is a true river conservation visionary who helped found several other organizations including the statewide river conservation organization, Rivers Unlimited, in 1972 (serving as president until 2003), the Mill Creek Alliance, and the Friends of the Great Miami. Throughout his career, Mike has been a passionate advocate for river conservation, and he has long been a leading proponent in applying the latest research to advance river protection in Ohio.  

The Ohio Natural Resources Hall of Fame was established by ODNR in 1966. Currently, 175 individuals have been accorded the honor, which recognizes a lifetime devoted to the preservation, protection, and wise management of Ohio's natural resources. Previous Hall of Fame honorees include the legendary Johnny Appleseed (John Chapman), Ohio-born explorer John Wesley Powell, botanist Lucy Braun, and conservationist and novelist Louis Bromfield.  

ODNR also selected three Ohioans to receive its annual Cardinal Award for conservation achievement: forest advocate Dr. Paul Mechling; outdoors enthusiast and youth educator Tamala “Tamy” Solomon; and herpetologist Doug Wynn.  

Dr. Paul Mechling

Dr. Paul MechlingDr. Paul Mechling has contributed countless hours toward conservation of Ohio’s natural resources and has supported innumerable conservation efforts through the years, especially as they relate to Ohio forests. He is a tireless advocate for sustainable forestry and promoting the benefits of well-managed and productive forests. Paul has focused on private woodlands in Ohio through the Tree Farm program and supporting the ODNR Division of Forestry’s service forestry program. He also has provided legislative support regarding forestry policies that have significant impacts on Ohio’s woodland owners. Always positive and enthusiastic, Paul has served on numerous conservation boards and councils where he has significantly influenced their missions, including the Ohio Forestry Advisory Council, Ohio Wildlife Council, Ashtabula SWCD Board of Supervisors, Ohio Forestry Association, and Ashtabula Scenic Rivers Council. 

Tamala “Tamy” Solomon

Tamy SolomonTamala “Tamy” Solomon is the founder of “Connecting Kids Inside Out,” a Columbus-based nonprofit with a mission to provide a positive outdoor experience for inner-city youth ages 6 to 15. Connecting Kids Inside Out provides educational and strategic initiatives and services by engaging children in both indoor and outdoor activities aimed at improving their educational process and instilling a sense of community service. Tamy coordinates and leads numerous events that support the organization’s mission, including an annual “Boys Trek” that allows boys 7-15 years old to participate in fishing, kayaking, canoeing, rope tying, and other activities, while also hearing from state park officers, naturalists, and wildlife officers. Tamy also conducts an event called, “Let’s Go Outside,” which hosts 300-400 kids at one of Columbus’ inner-city parks. Tamy is a true leader and advocates for youth and the outdoors. 

Doug Wynn

Doug WynnDoug Wynn has been involved in more than 250 research projects dealing with snake conservation in Ohio. He has authored multiple publications and made presentations at the local, national, and international level about snakes, their habitat, and importance to our ecosystem. His work in the areas of snake research, conservation, and education has led to a better understanding of this species, particularly many critically endangered ones. Doug is a valuable partner and asset to all the divisions of ODNR, especially the Division of Wildlife. He’s never too busy to return a call or step up when asked for assistance. He is committed to educating others about the importance of conservation by the generations of conservationists he has inspired and trained. A dedicated sportsman, educator, and researcher, Doug is passionate about sharing the message of conservation with people of all ages. 

The ODNR Cardinal Award, created in 1971, honors individuals and organizations demonstrating exceptional awareness and concern for ideals reflected in the department's mission statement: to ensure a balance between the wise use and protection of our natural resources for the benefit of all. 

Learn more about the Ohio Department of Natural Resources Hall of Fame program.