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East Peoria Times-Courier - East Peoria, IL
  • Bass Pro Shops founder Morris applauded

  • The Association of Fish and Wildlife Agencies, which represents North America's fish and wildlife agencies, has bestowed its inaugural Johnny Morris Award to its namesake, Johnny Morris, founder of Bass Pro Shops, in recognition of his lifetime of service to the cause of fish and wildlife conservation.
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  • The Association of Fish and Wildlife Agencies, which represents North America's fish and wildlife agencies, has bestowed its inaugural Johnny Morris Award to its namesake, Johnny Morris, founder of Bass Pro Shops, in recognition of his lifetime of service to the cause of fish and wildlife conservation.
    AFWA presented the award to Morris Sept. 10 during a luncheon ceremony as part of the association's annual meeting in Hilton Head Island, S.C.
    The new award will be conferred annually to a citizen conservationist who exemplifies Morris' extraordinary leadership at the highest level and steadfast commitment to solving large-scale natural resource challenges.
    Morris related that he was surprised and humbled to receive the inaugural citizen conservation award from the AFWA.
    There can be no higher honor than having your name as part of an award that will recognize citizen conservation on a national and global scale each year, Morris said.
    Morris developed a love of the outdoors at early age while fishing with his father. He started in the early 1970s with a U-Haul trailer full of the newest bass tackle and eight feet of sales space in his father's liquor store in Springfield, Mo.
    Since then, Bass Pro Shops has become what Sporting Goods Business magazine named the No. 1 outdoor retailer in America.
    More than 100 million shoppers annually visit one of the company's 58 destination outdoor retail stores across the U.S. and Canada.
    One of those locations is in East Peoria, at 1000 Bass Pro Shops Drive.
    Morris has remained an ardent conservationist and is the recipient of numerous honors, including the Teddy Roosevelt Conservationist Award, the International Conservation Achievement Award and AFWA's "President's Award" in 1996.
    He was inducted into the International Game Fish Association's Hall of Fame in 2005, and served three terms as chairman of the National Fish and Wildlife Foundation.
    Nominations for the Johnny Morris Award for citizen conservationist of the year will be solicited in early '13. More information will be available on www.fishwildlife.org.

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