By: Rachel DeHart

 Each year the National Wildlife Federation honors extraordinary conservation heroes with the National Conservation Achievement Award.

Marge Gibson, owner and founder of Raptor Education Group Inc, in Antigo, has been awarded the National Conservation Achievement Award. In which is so deserving for Gibson. 

“Thank you for honoring me with the prestigious Conservationist of the year award. To say it means a great deal to me, is an understatement,” said Gibson.

The work that REGI has done starts with native species and conservation, professionally and has spanned over half a century through field research, wildlife rehabilitation and education. 

“Personally, birds were my passion very literally from my first word,” said Gibson. “I can never adequately explain the honor of working so closely with and continually learning from our magnificent wild native species.”

The award means a great deal to Gibson.

“I thought of my parents, in many regards this award belongs to them, the late Clarence and Rosie Cahak,” Gibson said.

They were both life-long residents of Langlade County, pioneers and conservationist although, neither had the advantage of a formal education.

“Conservation and respect was their belief system, I grew up at my parent’s knees learning the strong ethics of conservation including hunting, fishing and gathering wild fruits, mushrooms and more,” said Gibson. 

“We celebrated a successful hunt because it brought food to our family, not the trophy of the kill. It was the hunter’s obligation to be respectful and humane to animal’s life, the beauty and bounty of all things wild, no matter if it was a new wildflower emerging or bird migration was always what called to my attention.”

To the Cahak family Wisconsin was ravishing and gave to anyone who opened their eyes to appreciate it in its entirety.

“I thank my parents for all they taught me, I am touched and honored beyond measure that their lessons have come through in my work,” Gibson said. “In my dad’s words, when as a kid I felt sad about something. “Come on, let us get out of here and into the woods, you will find what is important there.” I always did and still do.”