October 4, 2023
The membership of the Association of Fish & Wildlife Agencies (Association) elected Chuck Sykes, Director of the Alabama Division of Wildlife & Freshwater Fisheries, as its new president during its 113th Annual Meeting in Calgary, Canada.
In accepting the Association’s Presidency, Sykes reflected on his passion for the outdoors and commitment to fish and wildlife conservation, and expressed gratitude for the leadership and accomplishments made by AFWA under Past-President Curt Melcher.
“My life has always been about conservation,” said Sykes. “This job is often not glamorous and not thanked. But the work our state agencies do is extremely important, and I am honored to be selected to serve as President of AFWA.”
Sykes will serve as the Association President through September 2024.
“Chuck Sykes will be a great asset to AFWA as President, bringing a great wealth of knowledge and experience,” stated Curt Melcher, 2022-2023 AFWA President. “His insight through his years of service in conservation, his common sense and desire for open dialog will bring leadership that will be invaluable as we navigate the challenges of today.”
Chuck Sykes has been the Director of Wildlife and Freshwater Fisheries at the Department of Conservation and Natural Resources since December 2012. Chuck earned a degree in Wildlife Biology in 1992 from Auburn University in the School of Forestry and Wildlife Science. Over the years, Sykes’ career path has varied from guide and general manager of several prominent commercial hunting lodges, to creating a full-service natural resource consulting firm, creating a television show dedicated to wildlife management and habitat restoration, to a biological service manager, and finally to Director of the Alabama Division of Wildlife & Freshwater Fisheries. Sykes’s life has always been about conservation. From hunting and fishing in Choctaw County, Alabama to his hands-on experience, time in the field and education, providing him a unique set of skills.
Chuck is a passionate professional, committed to conservation, Alabama’s hunting heritage, and protecting our wildlife and related natural resources. He has brought new participants to hunting and fishing through the creation of Special Opportunity Areas and the Alabama Adult Mentored Hunting Program. He involves young people, non-hunters, men, and women in sharing and promoting conservation efforts.
Sykes has lived in the Montgomery area for more than 20 years, is happily married to his wife Gigi, and is the proud father of Syd, a 12-year-old miniature Australian Shepard. He also assists his father, Willie Sykes, with their family Charolais farm.
The Association of Fish & Wildlife Agencies represents North America’s fish and wildlife agencies to advance sound, science-based management and conservation of fish and wildlife and their habitats in the public interest. The Association represents its state agency members on Capitol Hill and before the Administration to advance favorable fish and wildlife conservation policy and funding and works to ensure that all entities work collaboratively on the most important issues. The Association also provides member agencies with coordination services on cross-cutting as well as species-based programs that range from birds, fish habitat and energy development to climate change, wildlife action plans, conservation education, leadership training and international relations. Working together, the Association’s member agencies are ensuring that North American fish and wildlife management has a clear and collective voice.