WAFWA 2020 Award Recipients
The Western Association of Fish and Wildlife Agencies (WAFWA) honored conservation professionals from several western states at their virtual award ceremony at the 2020 WAFWA Summer Conference. A video recording of the awards is available!
The 2020 WAFWA Awards and Award Recipients were:
• Federal Conservation Partner of the Year: Dan Collins of the U.S. Fish & Wildlife for his work with migratory birds in the western United States. Dan is an innovative leader with an eye to partnerships and collaboration. His research on cranes were originally directed towards crane wintering grounds, but very quickly evolved to include the breeding grounds when those marked birds traveled north. This research provided tremendous insight into the Lower Colorado River Valley crane population, which we previously knew very little about.
• Outstanding Citizen Wildlife Contributor of the Year: Dr. Jim Strogen for his lifelong dedication and commitment to conservation. His strong passion for conservation is reflected in his work with students, state agencies, and working groups. Jim has harnessed his education background and love for fishing into many conservation programs he voluntarily leads, including fly tying classes in his local school district.
• President’s Award: Mike Styler for a career focused on public service and prioritizing Utah’s wildlife and hunting heritage. Mike has served as a member of the Utah House of Representatives, including time as chair of the Natural Resources Appropriations Subcommittee and as a member of the Executive Appropriations Committee. During this time, he supported legislation and enhanced funding for the benefit of Utah wildlife and wildlife habitats, with many of these changes continuing to this day.
• Commission/Board of the Year Award: The Wyoming Game and Fish Commission for leading the way in developing innovative ideas to address the conservation issues of their state, including adopting the Migration Corridor Strategy. This strategy paved the way for the Department to institute a process to designate ungulate migration corridors, engage stakeholders, make recommendations to land management agencies, and develop proactive conservation actions.
• Special Recognition Award: Idaho Department of Fish and Game 2019 Statewide Wolf Estimate Project Team for developing a tool to more accurately estimate wolf numbers and population trends for the future of wolf management in Idaho. Crews deployed cameras, investigated potential rendezvous site habitat in low density and highly managed areas for wolf activity, and collected DNA samples to verify genetic information.
• Professional of the Year: Rebecca Dockter for her professionalism while working for Montana Fish, Wildlife & Parks. Becky has worked for FWP for the past 20 years and served as the Chief Legal Counsel for nearly ten years. She is responsible for supervising the legal team, which serves to advise the Department, the Fish & Wildlife Commission, and the Parks and Recreation Board.
• Pogue-Elms Law Enforcement Officer of the Year: Malcolm Clemenhagen for his innovative approach to wildlife crime investigations. Malcom has been a Conservation Officer with Idaho Department of Fish and Game since 2008 and the Salmon Regional Investigator since 2017. This past year Malcolm worked or trained in all seven of IDFG’s administrative regions and worked with each of the seven Regional Investigators around the state assisting with various cases.
• Outstanding WAFWA Contributor of the Year: Kyle Kaskie with the South Dakota Department of Game, Fish & Parks was recognized for his outstanding contributions to a WAFWA-sponsored project. He serves as a GIS Program Specialist for the South Dakota Department of Game, Fish and Parks (GFP) and is a dedicated and valued staff member who can visualize, interpret, and analyze the need for R3 strategies in the outdoors and their value to the citizens of South Dakota.
• Phillip W. Schneider Lifetime Achievement Award: Steve Jeffries for his 40-year professional career devoted to researching marine mammal populations. Throughout his career, Steve helped pioneer techniques for handling and parking pinnipeds and non-lethal deterrence measures that became important for population studies and for the management of pinnipeds at the Columbia River Dam and Ballard Locks.
• Special Achievement Award: The Arizona Hunting Angling Heritage Work Group for hosting outreach events focused on family friendly R3 learning experiences. Since 2011, the work group has collectively hosted over 495 events which have served over 8,000 primary participants and over 16,000 attendees.