Retired Local 361 Iron Worker and longtime Union Sportsmen’s Alliance member John Sferazo was profiled for his extraordinary contributions to conservation in the June 2012 issue of Field & Stream—the world’s leading outdoor magazine.
Since suffering physical and emotional trauma as a Ground Zero volunteer on 9/11, Sferazo has worked to provide free hunting opportunities for first responders and veterans. With the support of 30 organizations, his nonprofit group American Greenlands Restoration Inc. has turned a former 1,000-acre asphalt plant site in Maine back into a thriving forest habitat. “I know the healing benefits of the outdoors,” he says, “and I wanted to create something that would help people like me recover.”
Nominated by the Union Sportsmen’s Alliance, Sferazo was a natural fit for Field & Stream’s Heroes of Conservation program. Currently in its seventh year, the program honors individuals involved in grassroots projects to preserve the land, water and wildlife vital to sportsman’s pursuits with a profile in the magazine and a $500 conservation grant.
“Hunters and fishermen have never been afraid to roll up their sleeves and get to work in the name of protecting America’s wildlife and wild places, and John is a great example of that ethos hard at work,” says Anthony Licata, Editorial Director of Field & Stream. “Conservation is and will always be an integral part of hunting and fishing, and men and women like John are crucial to keeping our traditions alive for generations to come.”
This fall, Sferazo will also have the opportunity to be selected as one of six finalists from the Heroes profiled in the monthly editions. Finalists will be flown to Washington D.C. for an awards gala where the Conservation Hero of the Year will be named and awarded a new Toyota Tundra. Each finalist will also receive a $5,000 conservation grant to help with their individual projects.
“We were honored to nominate John as a Field & Stream Conservation Hero,” said USA Executive Director Fred Myers. “This award helps showcase union members’ commitment to conservation on a national platform and inspires others to get involved in the fight to preserve and protect America’s outdoor heritage.”
The Union Sportsmen’s Alliance brings together union members, like Sferazo, from around the country, who are willing to volunteer their time and expertise to tackle conservation projects that improve and enhance public access, wildlife habitat and outdoor experiences for communities across America. To find out more or to get involved with a project in your area, visit www.unionsportsmen.org or contact Thom Ellis at 615-831-6744.