Synchronize with the table of contents  INTRODUCTION



Mr. Ed Zern donated most of the items in this collection in 1964 and 1965. An unknown donor presented the other items at a later date.


The collection is open for research.


The American Motors Conservation Awards Records are the physical property of the Denver Public Library


All requests for permission to publish, reproduce, or quote from material in the collection should be discussed with the appropriate librarian or archivist. Permission for publication may be given on behalf of the Denver Public Library as the owner of the physical item. It is not intended to include or imply permission of the copyright holder, which also must be obtained by the customer. The Library does not assume any responsibility for infringement of copyright or publication rights of the manuscript held by the writer, heirs, donors, or executors. Reproduction restrictions are decided on a case-by-case basis.


[Identification of item], American Motors Conservation Awards Records, CONS3, Conservation Collection, The Denver Public Library.


Number of Boxes: 31

Audio visual: 1 envelope




Robert Russell

November 2002


Claudia Jensen

July 2004


Ellen Zazzarino


The American Motors Conservation Awards were begun in 1953, with the title of The Nash Conservation Awards Program. Mr. Ed Zern, a nationally recognized sportsman, writer, and columnist for Field and Stream was the architect of the program from its inception. The stated purpose of the program was "as recognition of the fact that our renewable natural resources are a God-given heritage, to be used wisely and defended against waste and reckless exploitation, and that the professional and non-professional conservationist each perform an important and often unappreciated role in our industrial society."

Nominations were accepted from anyone, but an important factor in the selection of winners was a commitment to conservation of natural resources and a lack of recognition in the conservation community. Often a nominee was disqualified due to too much exposure. Those who did win the award were originally presented a plaque, a citation, and $500 for the professional winners.

American Motors remained as sponsor of the awards until 1980. Following American Motors’ tenure, Gulf Oil (1981-1985) and Chevron (1985-2002) have continued to present the conservation awards. Times Mirror Magazines partnered with Chevron to present the awards from 1994-1996.

Since the original awards presented in 1954, approximately 1,000 conservation professionals, volunteers, and non-profit organizations have been recognized by the Conservation Awards.

Information obtained from the collection and the Chevron Conservation Awards website:


The American Motors Conservation Awards collection contains items from the years 1943-1981. Included in the collection are correspondence, nomination forms, photographs, press releases, and citations. The items included in this collection are arranged in chronological order by the year of the awards, and then alphabetically by the name of the nominees. Any information on winners, the voting process, or any other topic relating to the awards will be found at the start of that award year.

Most of the items relate to nominees for the awards. The initial series of awards (1953) required the official nomination form be submitted. The forms are all that were submitted for most nominees for the 1953 awards. In years following, candidates were nominated via a letter of recommendation and supporting material. This led to large packets of newspaper clippings, articles, and photographs being submitted in some cases. On some occasions, the American Motors Conservation Awards would keep the entire binder for reference, on others the nominee would request the binder or scrapbook be returned, with the awards committee keeping photocopies.

The goal of the American Motors Conservation Awards was to highlight the under-appreciated conservation workers of the United States. This was accomplished by honoring nominees from across the country and from various positions in the world of conservation. The awards went to local activists who volunteered their time, full-time employees of various government agencies, and regional or national groups working for various aspects of natural resource conservation. This collection provides a glimpse into grass roots conservation from the 1950s-1970s



  • American Motors Corporation -- Awards.
  • Conservation of natural resources -- Awards.
  • Conservation of natural resources -- Citizen participation.