Jack Rabbit, Texas-Photo Credit Chase Fountain

Burrowing Owl, Nevada - Photo Credit Tim Torrell

Eyed Trout Eggs, Tonto Creek Hatchery AZ - Photo Credit George Andrejko

Humpback Whales, Orca, Alaska - Photo Credit Sandstrom, Riley Woodford



Western Conservationists Awarded by WAFWA

The Western Association of Fish and Wildlife Agencies (WAFWA) has honored conservation professionals from several western states with awards commending their work to conserve fish and wildlife resources. The awards were announced July 15 at WAFWA's annual conference, held this year in Manhattan, Kansas.

Virgil Moore, retired Director of Idaho Fish and Game was honored with WAFWA’s most prestigious award, the Phillip W. Schneider Lifetime Achievement Award. Moore was recognized for his more than four decades of leadership with the Idaho Department of Fish and Game and his innumerable contributions to WAFWA. Moore retired in January, 2019, capping a 42-year career devoted to fish and wildlife management. Moore’s leadership contribution to WAFWA spanned several committees and issues over the years. Most recently, Moore served as chair of the Sage-Grouse Executive Oversight Committee from 2012 – 2018, a joint state-federal committee under WAFWA sponsorship which created the important conduit for necessary partnership and conservation vision to avoid federal listing of this iconic bird. Moore broadened his leadership footprint as the 2018 president of the Association of Fish and Wildlife Agencies (AFWA).  In this capacity, he led state fish and game agencies and partners across the nation in a vision for funding future conservation of all of America’s wildlife through the Recovering America’s Wildlife Act.  The award Moore received is named for Phillip W. Schneider of Oregon, whose legendary commitment to fish and wildlife resources spanned more than 40 years.

Utah Investigator Wade Hovinga was honored with WAFWA’s Pogue-Elms Law Enforcement Officer of the Year Award for his innovative approach to wildlife crime investigations. Hovinga is a Conservation Officer with the Utah Division of Wildlife Resources and some of his high-profile cases have received nationwide press coverage and significantly raised awareness of the consequences of intentionally violating wildlife laws. Hovinga is also a member of the oversight board for the Wildlife Investigators Covert Academy, and devotes significant time to the annual training for officers and investigators from around the country.  The Pogue-Elms Law Enforcement Officer of the Year Award memorializes Idaho Fish and Game officers Bill Pogue and Conley Elms, who were killed in January 1981 while trying to arrest a poacher in a remote region of southwestern Idaho.

Colin Gillin was honored with WAFWA’s Professional of the Year Award for his tireless dedication to wildlife management and health. Gillin is the State Wildlife Veterinarian for the Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife (ODFW), but his contributions are felt across the country. He serves on myriad committees providing important contributions on national issues such as cervid ranching, chronic wasting disease, white-nose syndrome, high path avian influenza and elk hoof disease. In Oregon, Gillin built the agency’s veterinary program from the ground up and established a lasting relationship with Oregon State University’s Veterinary Department.

WAFWA honors the conservation efforts of federal partners with the Federal Conservation Partner of the Year Award. This year’s recipient was Bureau of Land Management Arizona State Director Ray Suazo, who was honored for his commitment to building relationships and helping advance conservation initiatives in Arizona. He’s responsible for managing 12 million acres of public land for multiple uses and has demonstrated his commitment to conserve Arizona’s diverse wildlife resources and manage for safe, compatible outdoor recreation for current and future generations.

Other awards conferred included the President's Award, which went to Ron Klataske, executive director of Audubon of Kansas, Inc. The Arizona Game and Fish Commission was honored with the Commission of the Year Award. Colin Berg with the Oklahoma Department of Wildlife Conservation received a Special Achievement Award for his work to bring outdoor education to the schoolchildren of Oklahoma. WAFWA recognized the Outstanding Citizen Wildlife Contributor by honoring Eddie Pribyl from Nevada.  Retired WAFWA Executive Secretary Larry Kruckenberg was honored with a Special Recognition Award for his long service to WAFWA. WAFWA also conferred lifetime membership awards to six individuals for their career accomplishments and service to the organization: Bob Broscheid (CO), Bruce Dale (AK), Virgil Moore (ID), Alexa Sandoval (NM), Keith Sexson (KS), and Scott Talbott (WY).

Posted by WAFWA at 7/17/2019 4:57:00 AM
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