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Volunteer of the Year


Each year we select one volunteer to be recognized as our sanctuary Volunteer of the Year. This is our way of acknowledging the efforts of individuals who donate time and energy to help us meet our goals.

The selected individual is also in the running for National Marine Sanctuaries Volunteer of the Year in competition with volunteers from the other 13 sites in the National Marine Sanctuary System.


Scott Hickman headshot with sunglasses hanging around his neckScott Hickman
Circle H Outfitters & Charters
Galveston, TX

Not only is Scott Hickman the FGBNMS volunteer of the year, but also the Sanctuaries Volunteer of the Year!

Capt. Scott Hickman is the owner/operator of Circle H Outfitters and Charters. He is a full time hunting and fishing guide with 27 years experience, specializing in Cobia, Snapper, Amberjack and King Mackerel trips.

Left to right: Billy Causey, Scott Hickman holding a sculpted whale tail award, Clint Moore, G.P. Schmahl in front of the Flower Garden Banks NMS banner at an awards cer
Billy Causey, Southeast Region Director; Scott Hickman; Clint Moore, FGBNMS Advisory Council Chair; and G.P. Schmahl, FGBNMS Superintendent posing together after Scott received his national Volunteer of the Year Award in June 2016. (Image: Clint Moore)

His interest in the health of the Gulf of Mexico and the fisheries it supports led to his volunteer work with the sanctuary and several other groups. He is actively involved on the Gulf of Mexico Fisheries Management Council Migratory Pelagic Advisory Panel and Reef Fish Advisory Panel, with an interest in finding solutions for a better charter business plan in the Gulf his top priority.

Scott Hickman (left) shaking hands with GP Schmahl (right) as he receives his Volunteer of the Year award from FGBNMS
Scott Hickman (left) received his FGBNMS Volunteer of the Year Award from G.P. Schmahl at the April 2016 Advisory Council meeting. (Image: FGBNMS/Drinnen)

Scott has been a member of the Sanctuary Advisory Council as a Recreational Fishing representative since 2013. In this role, he has been extraordinarily active in making certain that the sanctuary is aware of and responsive to concerns of the recreational fishing community. While advocating for his constituents, he has provided a reasonable voice on the council stating what his constituents would prefer while acknowledging that the ultimate realities might be different because of the variety of user groups and the needs of the natural resources.

Scott Hickman sitting at the helm of one of his boats

In addition to participating in the Sanctuary Advisory Council meetings, Scott has actively pursued improvements to sanctuary information collection in his service on the Advisory Council's Visitor Use sub-committee.

Scott has also made certain that recreational fishers have a voice in the proposed sanctuary expansion and provided critical information to sanctuary staff regarding recreational fishing interests. He has worked hard to make certain that the proposed expansion plan is the best possible fit for recreational fishers and others.

Aerial view of a fishing boat at sea with 6 people on board. Hull of the boat is painted blue with sharks and fish on it.

All of these contributions have contributed to expanding and enhancing the credibility and visibility of the local site and the sanctuary system as a whole, especially among the recreational fishing community.

Scott attended both Texas Tech University and Sam Houston State University studying Wildlife Management and Criminal Justice. He also served in the United States Marine Corps and Texas National Guard.

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Click on the links below to learn about previous Volunteers of the Year and their contributions.

2015 Jesse Cancelmo

2014 Matt Stout

2013 Tom Oglin

2012 Clint Moore

2011 Kevin Buch

2010 Jacqueline Stanley

2009 George Hanks

2008 Tim Gibson

2007 Pete Bryant

2006 Haidee Williams

2005 Joyce & Frank Burek

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