At its 51st annual conference, the International Hunter Education Association (IHEA) bestowed its highest honor—the Gladney Davidson Memorial Award—on Marion Hammer for her significant contributions to hunter education.
In 1988, Hammer created the highly acclaimed Eddie Eagle GunSafe program. With the help of volunteer instructors, law enforcement agencies and civic organizations, Eddie Eagle’s message has reached more than 30 million children in all 50 states, as well as Canada and Puerto Rico.
In 1991, Hammer facilitated the launch of Florida’s Junior Hunter Safety Program, which was modeled after the successful Eddie Eagle curriculum. Florida’s Junior Hunter Safety Program provides a series of three free activity books and instructor manuals on firearm safety, outdoor ethics, and conservation for grades K through 5.
Hammer also provided valuable support to a program hunter education administrators developed called the Hunter Education Challenge. She helped grow the program in Florida and at the national level. Thanks to NRA support, the Youth Hunter Education Challenge continues to provide a safe, fun environment for youth to improve their skills.
Hammer also supports the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission’s (FWC) summer camp programs. Through the Florida Youth Conservation Center Network, which helps youth and families experience the outdoors, the FWC hosts educational residential summer camps, day camps, field trips, and school visits in partnership with over 340 providers around the state.
In her role as board member of the NRA, Hammer has advocated to continue offering free on-line hunter education. The result was the NRA’s award-winning free online hunter education course. This course was designed to help new hunters of all ages learn how to be safe and responsible members of the hunting community. The NRA, which developed the first-ever hunter education program in 1949, now offers the most comprehensive and the only free hunter education course in the United States.
Hammer has received many awards and honors, including the Florida Outstanding Women Achievement Award in 1997 and the Arizona Governor’s Appreciation Award in 1996 for promoting equal opportunities for women. She was awarded with the Outstanding Community Service Award from the National Safety Council in 1993 and in 2005, Hammer was inducted into the Florida Women's Hall of Fame. In 2020, she was listed as one of Florida’s Most Influential Americans Over 80.
Hammer, a certified firearms instructor, has had a significant and positive impact on hunter education and safe firearms handling in her community, Florida and across the nation.
The IHEA serves hunting and shooting sports educators worldwide by developing and implementing standards and resources based on research that promotes safe, responsible and ethical practices while fostering partner communication.