At their recent Annual Membership Meeting at Fort Harrison State Park, Indiana Audubon Society (IAS) presented their James H. Mason Service Award and Earl Brooks Conservation Award.  These awards are awarded annually to individuals who advanced the conservation of natural resources in Indiana through many endeavors. 

Brad Bumgardner, current Executive Director of the society was awarded the James H. Mason Service Award for his years of volunteer service to the organization. For over 10 years, Bumgardner has exhibited his own dedication to the Society by connecting people to birds.  Bumgardner, a former Lead Interpretive Naturalist with the Indiana Department of Natural Resources, is also the current chair of the Indiana Dunes Birding Festival, which was created during his tenure with the DNR and occurs each year in mid-May. Bumgardner is also a past recipient of the Northwest Indiana’s 20 Under 40 Award in 2013.

Richard Maxey, of Chesterton, was the 2020 recipient of the Earl Brooks Conservation Award. Maxey was recognized for this 5+ years work in what is now the Westchester Migratory Bird Sanctuary.  The former town dump site was converted to a bird sanctuary, which included removing invasive species, finding funding for trails and site infrastructure, and leading volunteer work groups to help establish a non-profit land trust for the property.  Maxey’s work was the driving force in the effort to transform the landscape into a welcoming habitat for bird life. 

For more information about the awards or other Indiana Audubon projects, visit them on the web at



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