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2021 Southern Region Educator of the Year award winner announced

By Taylor Matsko posted 07-07-2021 10:07 AM

2021 Southern Region Educator of the Year award winner announced

Sergeant Johnathan Beardsley, of the North Carolina Wildlife Resources Commission (NCWRC), has been named the Southern Region Educator of the Year for 2021.

Sergeant Johnathan Beardsley is a 14-year veteran of the North Carolina Wildlife Resources Commission. He began his career with the Law Enforcement Division in 2007 where he was assigned to Perquimans County. In 2018, he was promoted to the rank of sergeant and now oversees the daily operations of three coastal counties and over two-thirds of North Carolina’s coastline. Prior to joining the Commission, Sgt. Beardsley served proudly in the United States Army.
Sgt. Johnathan Beardsley - NCWRC
Conservation Law Enforcement and public education were dramatically impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic. Officers and administrators had to adjust their thought processes to figure out how to effectively deliver the quality education and programs that NCWRC was known for.

Sgt. Beardsley met those challenges head on and began using the tools available to him to continue to provide safety and security to the public of North Carolina. He hosted and led the first virtual education classes in the district. This gave the public the opportunity to access instructor-led courses while still adhering to the pandemic parameters.

Over the years, Sgt. Beardsley worked hard to form relationships with local media outlets to help amplify the boating safety message. As a result, these connections became a huge asset during the pandemic. Sgt. Beardsley used these relationships to spread the word of the numerous boating safety campaigns throughout the summer. He also encouraged his officers to reach out and find other avenues to deliver information to the community. These efforts led to multiple television interviews and allowed officers to deliver valuable boating information to the public, not only in North Carolina, but also in Virginia. 

Sgt. Beardsley hosted several Public Service Announcements (PSAs) and monthly talks with local radio stations and the Outer Banks Voice News program. He covered topics including the agency’s Wake Responsibly and Preserve Your Life PFD campaigns, as well as local navigation rules.

In addition to these topics, Sgt. Beardsley utilized these platforms to spread the word of the dangers of combining alcohol and boat operation. Operation Dry Water (ODW) was the focal point leading up to the month of July. Sgt. Beardsley educated the recreational boating community on the campaign and the importance of sober operation.

Unfortunately, Sgt. Beardsley investigates numerous boating incidents every year, including several fatalities. Through his contacts with the local media, he was able to release accurate information and use the platform to convey how critical boating safety and education are to the recreational boating community.

Additionally, Sgt. Beardsley coordinated several operating while intoxicated (OWI) enforcement details using the division’s Special Operations Unit (SOU). With the assistance of the SOU, Sgt. Beardsley and his officers were able to make numerous OWI arrests, keeping the residents of North Carolina and its visitors safe.

Sgt. Beardsley is one of the lead boating instructors for the NCWRC. He is a valuable part of a team of instructors that travel throughout the district to instruct other law enforcement agencies and officers, as well as first responders, in boating education and on-the-water operation certifications. Sgt. Beardsley is always one of the first to volunteer for these classes and is an integral part of the certification program.

Sgt. Beardsley takes great pride in the fact that he can play a small role in helping the NCWRC accomplish its mission. He is an asset not only to his district and his officers, but also to the agency and the public of North Carolina. Congratulations Sergeant Johnathan Beardsley!


Generously sponsored by Fresh Air Educators, and Kalkomey Enterprises, Inc., the Pamela S. Dillon Boating Educator of the Year Award was launched by NASBLA in 2011 to recognize those who go above to engage students and boaters, raise awareness, and make boating education initiatives relevant, thorough and exciting.

National Association of State Boating Law Administrators (NASBLA) is a national nonprofit, 501(c)3 organization that works to develop public policy for recreational boating safety. NASBLA represents the recreational boating authorities of all 50 states and the U.S. territories. We offer a variety of resources, including training, model acts, education standards, publications and more. Through a national network of thousands of professional educators, law enforcement officers and volunteers, we affect the lives of nearly 85 million American boaters.