The membership of the Association of Fish & Wildlife Agencies today elected Larry Voyles, director of the Arizona Game and Fish Department, as its new president during AFWA's 104th Annual Meeting in St. Louis, Missouri.
In accepting AFWA’s presidency, Voyles reflected on the critical importance of the North American Model of Wildlife Conservation as the nation’s unique system of governance for delivering fish and wildlife conservation on a continental scale.
“We are able to deliver a figure as significant as nearly $4.5 billion of conservation in the U.S. alone only because the people we serve will it and desire it,” said Voyles. “It is that ‘good will’ that can ultimately guarantee this wildlife legacy in which we take so much pride, and because of that fact, we absolutely must tell those we serve the story of who we are, where we come from, how we do business and why.”
Voyles urged his colleagues to tell the great story of conservation again and again. He also praised the coordinating action and capability of the Association of Fish & Wildlife Agencies and the regional fish and wildlife agencies’ associations; recognized professionals across the country for their tireless dedication to conservation; and he held a moment of silence for those fallen heroes who lost their lives in the line of duty in 2014.
“The directors of the state and provincial wildlife agencies are truly blessed as leaders, but more importantly, all of North America is truly blessed to have the kind of dedicated conservation professionals who simply refuse to let our wildlife future fade,” said Voyles.
Voyles will serve as AFWA President through September 2015.
“Larry Voyles is a true leader and a conservation visionary who will leave a lasting imprint on our organization,” said Dan Forster, director of the Georgia Wildlife Resources Division and the 2013-2014 AFWA president. “He understands the vital role played by state and provincial wildlife officials in the conservation of North American species and habitats, and we expect President Voyles will excel at representing both wildlife conservation professionals and the North American species we hold in trust.”
Voyles joined the Arizona Game and Fish Department in 1974 as a wildlife manager (game ranger), serving over the next 10 years in the Wellton, Wickenburg and Prescott districts. He subsequently served as the wildlife enforcement program coordinator and as the department’s training coordinator before being promoted to supervisor of the Yuma region in 1988 and then agency director in 2008. Voyles holds a B.S. in wildlife biology from Arizona State University.