- Division of Fisheries and Wildlife
Media Contact for George Darey receives Francis Sargent Conservation Award
Marion Larson, MassWildlife
On Tuesday, October 30, 2018, George L. (Gige) Darey, former board member and chairman of the Massachusetts Fisheries and Wildlife Board, received the Francis W. Sargent Conservation Award for his contributions to the sporting community and to the conservation of the Commonwealth’s natural resources. Darey is the 14th recipient of the award. Established in 2000 by the Fisheries and Wildlife Board, the Sargent Award honors the former governor and noted conservationist who directed the Massachusetts Division of Fisheries and Wildlife (MassWildlife) in 1963–64.
Darey, a lifelong angler and hunter, received the award—a framed photograph of a loon by the late MassWildlife photographer Bill Byrne—at a ceremony held at the Lenox Sportsmen’s Club. In addition, Senator Adam Hinds presented Darey with a Senate citation honoring his award. The ceremony was attended by MassWildlife Director Mark Tisa, Department of Fish and Game Commissioner Ron Amidon as well as representatives from state environmental agencies, sporting and other local conservation organizations, previous Sargent Award recipients, and family members.
“I have been following conservation issues all my life and served on the Fisheries and Wildlife Board with Gige Darey since 1986,” said Fisheries and Wildlife Board Vice President Mike Roche. “No individual I know has ever had a greater positive impact or contributed more to the natural resources of Massachusetts in so many critical ways."
“I have been lucky to be involved for so many years with something I love. It has been a fun ride,” said Darey. “I have been even more fortunate to have worked with and get to know so many people and organizations with a passion for our environment. Words can’t express how much this day and what you all mean to me.”
Darey, of Lenox, represented the Western Wildlife District on the Fisheries and Wildlife Board for 38 years, 35 of which he was chairman, until December of 2016. He served under eight different governors and worked with four MassWildlife Directors. During his tenure on the Fisheries and Wildlife Board, Mr. Darey was instrumental in generating public support for important wildlife issues including the funding of the Natural Heritage and Endangered Species Program; the establishment of the Wildlands Conservation Stamp, a $5 assessment to the sale of hunting and fishing licenses dedicated exclusively to the protection of wildlife habitat open to hunting, fishing, and other wildlife related recreation; and science-based management of wildlife and wildlife habitat. He was honored by the Fisheries and Wildlife Board in 2004 when the Housatonic Valley Wildlife Management Area in Lenox was renamed the George Darey Wildlife Management Area.
Darey, a retired teacher, has been a long-time environmental advocate for the Berkshires since returning from military service. He served on the first Lenox Conservation Commission as well as on the Board of the Massachusetts Association of Conservation Commissions and served on the Lenox Board of Selectmen. Darey has a BA from the State University of New York (Plattsburg) and an MS from the University of Massachusetts.
Mr. Darey’s leadership role in environmental stewardship was recognized in 1996 when he was presented a U.S. Environmental Protection Agency Award. He is a board member of the Berkshire Natural Resources Council, Green Berkshires, and Sportsmen for Land Preservation. He is also a founding member of the Housatonic River Initiative and the Massachusetts Outdoor Heritage Foundation, and was instrumental in forging forestland protection and management partnerships between MassWildlife and the Nature Conservancy, the Ruffed Grouse Society, and the National Wild Turkey Federation.
Pictured: Fisheries and Wildlife Board members with George Darey (L–R): Dr. Brandi Van Roo, Stephen Sears, Mike Roche, Bonnie Booth, George Darey, and Dr. Joseph Larson.