Richard Hart Award

Richard M. Hart
Educator of the Year Award

Richard M. (Dick) Hart was a successful businessman and family man who had a passion for fishing and conservation. Mr. Hart’s belief in youth education spilled over into the Wildlife Forever Fish Art Program and expansion of the Texas Fish Art division. Recognizing his contributions and legacy impact on the program, The Richard M. Hart Educator of the Year Award shall be a National Fish Art Contest Award to honor educators from across the nation. It was Mr. Hart’s belief that educators are the key to encourage and inspire youth conservation education. This award shall recognize the educators who participate in the Fish Art Contest and actively strive to expose youth to nature and the joys of fishing.

The Texas Freshwater Fisheries Center, where Mr. Hart’s passion of supporting the arts, educators and providing opportunities to connect youth to conservation culminated, shall serve as official home of the Richard M. Hart Educator of the Year Award. The Center will be home to a permanent display for this award highlighting the annual award winner and sharing Mr. Hart’s story.

Requirements and Nomination

Educators can apply for this award or be nominated by  fellow educators, students, parents, or staff involved with the Fish Art Contest.

Criteria:

Educator must encourage Fish Art Contest participation in their classroom, home, or art studio.

Educator must actively encourage or facilitate outdoor experiences like fishing and outdoor, nature-based, activities.

Prizes

Limited edition “Richard M. Hart Educator of the Year” State-Fish Art Print

$1,000 Amazon gift card for educational supplies

$900 stipend toward a Fishing or Aquatic Education Seminar / Field Trip for classroom

  • Virtual or live in-person
  • State hosted aquarium, education, and/or nature center facility

About Richard M. Hart

Mr. Hart’s exceptional career in the banking profession was only surpassed by his civic contributions. He was awarded an honorary Doctor of Science Degree from Baylor college of Dentistry, Silver Beaver Award from the Boy Scouts of America, Lone Star Legend award for public service from the Texas Parks and Wildlife, and was inducted into both the Texas Freshwater Fisheries Fishing Hall of Fame and the National Freshwater Fishing Hall of Fame. As an avid and highly accomplished angler, Mr. Hart holds two world record catches and numerous IGFA awards. He took a special interest in The Texas Freshwater Fisheries Center (TFFC) in Athens, Texas, and its emphasis on youth education, where he was able to secure funding for the Wetlands Trail. Through his leadership of a series of fundraising banquets, and the special support of John L. Morris and Bass Pro Shops, the Hart-Morris Conservation Center was completed in 2008 at TFFC and houses meeting rooms, offices, and classroom facilities. Further, Mr. Hart had an uncanny ability to develop strategic partnerships that aligned his passion for conservation with on-the-ground results. The Art of Conservation was a light Mr. Hart saw in every student painting and entry into the program. This Award honors Mr. Hart’s legacy and will inspire future stewards of the outdoors.

Supporters of the Richard M Hart Award