Modern environmental protection is a diverse discipline. Wardens, Rangers, Agents and Conservation Officers watch over parks, forests, waterways, migratory paths, federal and tribal lands and military bases. An officer's jurisdiction might be thousands of miles of rugged back country or a section of urban pavement.
The general public knows that Game wardens check fishing licenses. They may not know Game Wardens across North America also fight forest fires, perform avalanche control, carry out wildlife captures and relocations, execute remote search and rescue operations, patrol international borders and prosecute the organized wildlife black market.
Conservation Officers often work alone. Their jobs are often dangerous. They risk and sometimes sacrifice their lives protecting the environment.
Regardless of the risk, at the front of the thin green line you will find Game Wardens.
Conservation Officers face tremendous challenges in protecting resources that know no borders.
For many years, throughout North America, state and provincial agencies operated completely independent of their neighbors without the benefit of cross-training and professional communication between agencies. But this profession is noted for its ingenuity. In 1980, a small group of field officers gathered to discuss ways to improve conservation enforcement across the continent. The North American Wildlife Enforcement Officers Association (N.A.W.E.O.A.) was the eventual result of that meeting.
the 25 years since NAWEOA was established with 16 members, the organization
has grown. NAWEOA will celebrate its silver anniversary 8,000 officers
with a diverse membership base spanning a broad range of agencies and
officers from every U.S. state and Canadian province.
This organization is responsible for providing a number of conservation enforcement firsts in North America: first international training program, first North American conference for field officers, first system to honor officers who have fallen in the line of duty and first to provide a support system for survivors of fallen officers.
They joined other North American enforcement organizations in broadly recognizing their fallen comrades and in providing a support system for survivors.
The men and women of this profession have chosen this work as much more than a way to make a living. It is, for most, a lifestyle and a way to make a difference. And Resource Officers DO make a difference every day - in the field, in classrooms and in courtrooms.
In pursuit of that goal on a greater scale, the officers of NAWEOA have committed to a major outreach program – the creation of the only institution in the world dedicated to educating the public about natural resource protection and to honoring the profession's heroes.