Championing excellence in hunting and wildlife conservation, Safari Club International (SCI) presented Siri Campbell-Fossel with its 2024 SCI Diana Award at the SCI Convention in Nashville on Feb. 3. Sponsored by the NRA Women’s Leadership Forum (WLF), the honor is named for Diana, Roman mythology’s goddess of the hunt. The honor recognizes women who are leading the way in the hunting arena by demonstrating exemplary ethics afield and by working to promote wildlife conservation and public education in support of our hunting traditions.
On her way to winning the Diana Award, presented by NRA WLF founding member, co-chair and champion competitive sporting clays shooter Jane Brown and 2021 SCI Diana Award recipient Brittany Longoria, Campbell-Fossel pursued 100 game species on six continents. This week she is on her way to Pakistan for another big-game hunting adventure. In recounting her hunts through the years, she says she is most proud of taking what is commonly referred to as the “Dangerous 7,” which includes the “big five” dangerous game species and the hippopotamus and crocodile.
Campbell-Fossel was born and raised in the Midwest and shares that her passion for the great outdoors is thanks to growing up on her family’s farm. She earned a master’s degree from Loyola University and then lived in Monaco for 20 years, enjoying a career in communications during which time she worked as a teaching radio reporter, writer and event planner. In 2008, she moved to Montana and in 2010 married her husband, Jon, who shared his passion with her for hunting and wildlife conservation. They now live in Colorado and are members of SCI’s Four Corners Chapter.
Serving as vice president of the SCI Foundation (SCIF) Sables, Campbell-Fossel is dedicated to promoting our outdoor heritage through support of hunting and conservation education programs and is on the SCIF Advisory Board. As with all other Diana Award winners, she was selected by past award recipients.
Campbell-Fossel shares that SCI has given her “a deep appreciation for the role hunting plays in wildlife conservation” and enjoys promoting why she hunts. More than ever, we need hunters in our ranks who can talk with nonhunters about hunting and articulate its benefits to wildlife and their habitats. We also need forums where women hunters can come together and share their hunting stories, which is why SCI was pleased to hold its 2nd annual “Women Go Hunting” reception during the show, a gathering inspired by 2017 Diana Award recipient Denise Welker.
While it is an honor to be celebrated by one’s peers, we hunters do not hunt for the recognition. Being applauded for enjoying our all-American lifestyle, in fact, is never expected, but it is important as we work to call attention to meritorious achievement in our ranks, educate the public on hunting’s role in wildlife conservation and increase hunting’s cultural acceptance. In standing with groups like the NRA and SCI, it is in our nature to show our appreciation for hunter-conservationists who inspire us and give back, to recognize excellence in all legal, regulated hunting pursuits, and to strive to emulate those who attain it.
Diana’s Enduring Influence: From the Roman Empire to the Present
As with the bronze Diana Award statue presented to every SCI Diana Award winner, the goddess Diana is typically depicted wearing a short dress or draping cloth and holding her bow and quiver of arrows alongside either a hunting hound or a deer. She appears in several Roman myths. The one I recall from my elementary school mythology lesson is the story of huntsman Actaeon, written about by the Roman poet Ovid in 8 CE. When Actaeon, who revered Diana, came upon her bathing in the woods and stared with potentially dishonorable intentions, she punished him by turning him into a deer. He became the prey and was hunted down by his own hunting hounds.
Diana remained part of popular culture during the Renaissance, the period that bridged the Middle Ages and modern history from the 14th to the 17th centuries. She is honored every year during the three-day festival known as Nemoralia, or the Festival of Torches, so called because worshippers assemble by candlelight at the Sanctuary of Diana at Lake Nemi, 15 miles outside Rome, leaving behind their tokens of devotion. Originally celebrated by the ancient Romans on the Ides of August (Aug. 13-15), the festival soon spread to other parts of the Roman Empire.
The appreciation of Diana, the goddess of the hunt, continues in modern times. Today she remains known as one who fights ferociously for what is right and draws on her tenacity and determination—hallmarks of every SCI Diana Award recipient to date.
About the NRA Women’s Leadership Forum: Uniting women of influence, the NRA Women’s Leadership Forum is a philanthropic society dedicated to protecting and defending our Second Amendment and the freedoms it ensures. As the presenting sponsor of the SCI Diana Award, it applauds the contributions of distinguished women in hunting and wildlife conservation. For more information, visit NRAWLF.org.