Durrell Smith is a 32-year-old Atlanta, Georgia native, visual artist, podcast host, bird dog handler/trainer, and conservationist. While creating compelling abstract assemblage pieces or India ink and watercolor illustrations based on his field experiences and hunting dogs, he also runs a podcast called The Sporting Life Notebook, along with his nonprofit, the Minority Outdoor Alliance, co-founded with his wife Ashley Smith.
As the Academics Afield Director for Georgia Wildlife Federation, Durrell will work with partners and students at collegiate academic institutions to introduce and inspire a new generation of conservationists. As a first-generation hunter, he is committed to providing hunting and shooting opportunities to student learners who also may not have grown up hunting. In addition to overseeing existing programs at UGA, GSU and ABAC, Academics Afield will launch programs at Georgia’s Historically Black Colleges of Fort Valley State University and Albany State University Fall of 2022. As an Albany State University alumni, his investment to developing new hunting and fishing opportunities for students of HBCUs runs deep.
Durrell offers to Academics Afield a wealth of knowledge in hunting heritage and history, particularly in the Southeast, as well as the expertise to “walk the walk” and show others how to do the same. Durrell’s expertise of capturing images isn’t exclusionary to visual art. He expresses his favorite outdoor experiences eloquently;
“My favorite outdoor activity is Bobwhite Quail and Woodcock hunting with my dogs. My first is quail being that is so steeped in tradition of my native state and Pointers and Setters are just so beautiful when they point to them, far off and lost in the piney woods. I love finding beautiful white dogs posed up right along the edge of a firebreak, still as a board waiting for the covey to flush. Woodcock are my next favorite bird and I enjoy trying to time and track their migration. My dogs love pointing them as well and they are just funky little creatures. But their travel story along their flight path is so interesting, and the stories of them dancing in the moonlight leave much to their allure.”
Durrell is also the recipient of the 2021 Orvis Breaking Barriers Award, which honors individuals or organizations going above and beyond to bring new communities into fly fishing or wingshooting. Durrell seeks to learn with and contribute to the active outdoor community by connecting with visionaries within the bird dog community who are willing to share stories and knowledge about the various breeds and practices, creating a bridge to welcome aspiring dog men and women to the bird dog community.
“I look forward to working with Georgia Wildlife Federation and many years afield with a new generation of sportsmen and sportswomen excited to craft their pathways into the outdoors and conservation.”
Durrell is funded as a contractor by grant (#F21AP00678-00) from the Sport Fish and Wildlife Restoration Programs of the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service. Academics Afield is supported by The Georgia R3 Initiative- a cooperative effort between Georgia Wildlife Federation, Georgia Department of Natural Resources Wildlife Resources Division, National Wild Turkey Federation, and the Georgia Chapter of Safari Club International.
Georgia R3 Initiative: https://gwf.org/r3/
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About Georgia Wildlife Federation
Georgia Wildlife Federation was founded as a sportsman’s organization in 1936 and is Georgia’s oldest conservation organization. Today, members include hunters, anglers, bird watchers, hikers, educators, and all Georgians who are interested in preserving our natural resources and outdoor heritage.