What does it take to be a hero of conservation? According to the Mule Deer Foundation (MDF), it's embodied in 16-year-old Carter Lawrence. Carter, who's from Phoenix, Ariz., was recently selected as a Youth Hero of Conservation by Field & Stream in the September issue of the magazine.
How did he earn this accolade? To start, Carter has been active in MDF's North Valley Chapter as a committee leader coordinating the chapter's involvement in the Arizona Game and Fish Department's Adopt-A-Ranch program. Under Carter's leadership, the chapter has logged over 1,300 volunteer hours on the Horseshoe Ranch in Central Arizona. In addition, Carter has served as a peer mentor at MDF's M.U.L.E.Y. (Mindful, Understanding, Legal, Ethical Youth) program where he assists with shooting clinics, archery events and M.U.L.E.Y. hunting seminars and deer camps.
"We couldn't be more proud of Carter receiving this honor from Field & Stream," stated Jon Zinnel, Youth Programs Coordinator for MDF. "Our M.U.L.E.Y. program is intended to foster the next generation of sportsmen-conservationists and Carter has capably carried this mission forward. He sees his volunteering as a way to pay it forward to the future of wildlife and hunting in Arizona."
Carter has helped to organize a number of habitat improvement projects, including renovating or enhancing multiple water sources as well as repairing or removing fence on the 69,000-acre ranch. In addition, Carter has developed a computer database to keep track of their accomplishments, monitoring efforts as well as repairs that are needed at other water developments. During M.U.L.E.Y. camps, Carter has worked to share his passion for conservation and hunting with other youth.
Outside of his work with the Mule Deer Foundation, Carter is a Petty Officer 2nd Class with the U.S. Naval Sea Cadet program and volunteers with his local church group twice a month helping the homeless. He plays football, basketball and lacrosse at his local high school and enjoys getting out in the desert and mountains to hunt just as much as he enjoys volunteering.
"Carter has been a shining example of how youth can make a difference in conservation, and has given me some comfort knowing that the future of wildlife conservation will have new leaders like Carter to take care of wildlife for many more generations," commented Troy Christensen, public access coordinator at the Arizona Game and Fish Department. "I can't thank Carter and the MDF enough for the enormous amount of hard work and dedication they have put towards wildlife conservation."