ATHENS, Ga. -(Ammoland.com)- At the 2017 Quality Deer Management Association (QDMA) National Convention, QDMA presented its Ambassador Award to Stu Lewis of Bradley, S.C. This prestigious award is not given out annually, and only three other people have been presented with the award in the past.
Lewis is a QDMA Life Member and certified in all three levels of the organization’s Deer Steward program. He manages his property, Cedar Ridge Plantation, by closely following the principles outlined in the Level I and II courses. He earned Level III of Deer Steward through his long-term service to QDMA.
Joe Hamilton, QDMA’s Founder, said Lewis’s property is one of the best managed in the Southeast. Hamilton said he truly admires Lewis’s charismatic personality and his devotion to educate others about wildlife management.
“Attend any function or event with this gentleman and he is the spark plug that incites enthusiasm, dedication, and support for the QDMA,” Hamilton said. “He is the caliber of person we treasure as a teammate, and one whom we recognize as a true QDMA Ambassador.”
Previous recipients of the Ambassador Award include Judge Holdfold of North Carolina in 2008, Peter J. Stuart of Australia in 2010, and Chip West of Delaware in 2014.
In 1987, a wildlife biologist from South Carolina named Joe Hamilton was invited to speak to the Australian Deer Association. Impressed with their organization, Joe returned to the United States with an idea for a similar group in South Carolina.
Following a series of meetings in coastal South Carolina in 1988, a core group of volunteers outlined the framework of a new group that would become the QDMA. They scraped together their own money to launch a newsletter, and Joe sketched a logo for the group: a buck and doe silhouette. This core group was eventually named the Lowcountry Branch, the first Branch of the QDMA, and it is still active today.
By 1992, a total of 16 Branches had been formed in South Carolina, North Carolina, Georgia and Wisconsin.
1993: The Signpost newsletter could no longer adequately present the flood of content being provided, so Quality Whitetails magazine was launched.
1995: The “national headquarters” is relocated from the home of volunteer Executive Director Robert Manning and his wife Kathy to the home of Joe and Donna Hamilton in South Carolina.
1997: Brian Murphy is hired as Executive Director and the “national office” is moved to a guest bedroom in Brian’s home near Athens, Ga.
2000: QDMA membership reaches 10,000.
2001: QDMA’s first National Convention is held in Athens, Ga.
2002: QDMA member Frank Coggins of Elberton, Ga., donates 23 acres of land near Athens for a new headquarters site.
2005: An 18,000-square-foot National Headquarters building, made possible by donations from numerous QDMA members in architecture and construction, is dedicated.
The new building enabled QDMA to increase its capacity to educate both members and non-members and to take an active role in promoting sound deer management across the nation. The result has been the most significant period of growth, accomplishment and outreach in QDMA’s history with membership reaching 60,000.
The QDMA volunteer network has climbed to more than 180 QDMA Branches in more than 30 states, with many others forming. QDMA Branches actively pursue the QDMA mission in their areas and hold educational and social events to unite like-minded sportsmen in this common goal.
Become a part of this growing, influential organization by joining today. It’s where deer hunters belong!
QDMA is dedicated to ensuring the future of white-tailed deer, wildlife habitat and our hunting heritage. Founded in 1988, QDMA is a national nonprofit wildlife conservation organization with more than 60,000 members in all 50 states and Canada. To learn more about QDMA and why it is the future of deer hunting, call 800-209-3337 or visit www.QDMA.com. QDMA can also be found on Facebook at www.facebook.com/TheQDMA, Twitter at www.twitter.com/TheQDMA, and Instagram at www.instagram.com/theqdma.