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Richard M. Hart Educator of the Year Award Winner Announced

White Bear Lake, MN – Wildlife Forever is proud to name Ms. Kari Halker-Saathoff of St. Michael Albertville, MN as the 2023 Richard M Hart Educator of the Year.

“Educators are the backbone of the Fish Art Contest. It is wonderful to be able to support the educators who keep the program growing while honoring the conservation legacy of Dick Hart,” said Tom Lang, Texas Parks and Wildlife Department’s (TPWD) Director of Texas Freshwater Fisheries Center.

Ms. Halker-Saathoff is in her 27th year of teaching art and strives to incorporate wildlife and conservation themes in her classes. She became hooked on fishing after an amazing first trip out where she landed a 10 lb. lake trout, and has now held a license to fish in three states plus Canada. Her students participated in the 25th Anniversary Fish Art Contest as part of the Wildlife and Nature Art unit in her Studio Art class.

“Art is an incredible way to connect students with nature and conservation. Seeing students build empathy and understanding for the natural world has fueled my career as a teacher. Opportunities like the Fish Art Contest give students the chance to delve deeper into learning about conservation and how they can make a difference,” said Halker-Saathoff.

The Richard M Hart Educator of the Year Award was created to honor the legacy of Mr. Hart, who was the driving force behind the Hart-Morris Education Center in Athens, Texas at the TPWD Texas Freshwater Fisheries Center. Mr. Hart had a passion for fishing and conservation and believed in the ability of educators to inspire stewardship in youth. The award is given annually to an exemplary educator who is committed to conservation education.

Ms. Halker-Saathoff’s dedication to conservation education won the judges over. She will receive a $1000 gift card and a $900 stipend to facilitate outdoor learning, as well as a limited-edition Fish Art print.

Special thanks to the Friends of the Texas Freshwater Fisheries Center and the Grann/Hollingsworth Trust for supporting this award.

About the Fish Art Program

The award-winning Wildlife Forever Art of Conservation Fish Art® Contest, is supported by Title Sponsor Bass Pro Shops, International Game Fish Association, the USDA Forest Service, the Guy Harvey Foundation, Rapala, and National Fish Habitat Partnership. Bringing youth, art, and conservation together, the Fish Art program is free to enter. Visit

About Wildlife Forever

Our mission is to conserve America’s outdoor heritage through conservation education, preservation of habitat and management of fish and wildlife. Wildlife Forever is a 501c3 non-profit dedicated to investing resources on the ground. Recent audits reveal that 95% of every dollar supports our award-winning conservation programs. Join Today and learn more about the Art of Conservation® Fish Art Contest™ and Songbird Art Contest™, Clean Drain Dry Initiative™ and Prairie City USA® at


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