Tag Archives: organization of the year

Loon-loving 8th Grader, Wenatchee Sportsmen, Castle Rock Hunters/Craftsmen Honored For Critter Work

It was ages ago now, but camping and fishing one summer in the eastern Okanogan Highlands I was enthralled to hear the haunting call of loons.

That memory stuck with me and I closely followed the debate about banning small lead-based fishing gear at Lost Lake and 12 other known loon-nesting waters, mostly in Washington’s northeast corner but three on the Westside too. I also wrote about a misguided effort in the legislature to institute a much wider ban.

MADELINE ASHMORE WAS NAMED WDFW’S CITIZEN EDUCATOR OF THE YEAR. (WDFW)

Somewhere around that time, little Madeline Ashmore sent WDFW a brief note to say, “I am four years old. I do not want lead sinkers in loons.”

This week she’s being honored by the agency as its Citizen Educator of the Year for her work to protect the rare birds from ingesting lost lead tackle.

“Madeline has worked alongside others to have lead banned in loon nesting lakes, and to educate the public on the alternatives to lead in fishing gear. Madeline has sold loon-themed greeting cards and cookies, dressed as a loon for Halloween, and encouraged the sale of lead-free tackle at local businesses to support her education efforts,” WDFW detailed on its Medium page.

Ashmore also handed over “hundreds of dollars” worth of tackle from a presentation she gave at a local organization’s Highland Wonders series of lectures.

Where she’s shown “drive, determination and care” in her short time on this Earth so far in earning her award, the Wenatchee Sportsmen’s Association’s 70-year history of doing good deeds for critters contributed to it earning WDFW’s Organization of the Year honor.

“Their contributions are wide and varied in scope and scale and in terms of dollars and volunteer hours. The association has worked to build and fix fences, plant shrubs after wildfires, conduct wildlife surveys, develop kid’s fishing events, and process seized meat from poachers to provide for local charitable organizations,” the agency stated.

When WDFW was forced to remove the Wedge Pack in 2012, the governor’s office received 12,000 emails opposed to the removal, and only one note from a hunters’ group in support — the Wenatchee Sportsmen’s Association.

They were also instrumental in preserving wildlife habitat in eastern Chelan County’s Stemilt Basin that at one point was going to be turned into high-elevation cherry orchards, a story that we covered in this blog and in our magazine.

As for the state agency’s volunteer of the year award, that went to four men, including three Castle Rock brothers/Master Hunters — Chris, John and Ken Ness — who “volunteered more than 600 hours of their engineering skills and craftsmanship to build 46 crates for transporting mountain goats and other wildlife for the department. Some of the crates were custom built to reduce stress on nannies with kids or to provide extra space for large billy goats.”

MASTER HUNTERS CHRIS, JOHN AND KEN NESS WORK ON ONE OF THEIR MOUNTAIN GOAT BOXES MADE FOR AN EFFORT TO TRANSLOCATE BILLIES, NANNIES AND KIDS FROM THE OLYMPIC MOUNTAINS, WHERE THE SPECIES WAS INTRODUCED BY HUNTERS IN THE 1920S, BACK TO THEIR HOME RANGE IN THE CASCADES. (WDFW)

Their handiwork was used during last September’s capture and translocation of wild goats in the Olympics, across Puget Sound to the North and Central Cascades.

The other VOTY awardee was Russ Lewis who has spent years keeping a 7-mile stretch of the Long Beach Peninsula that is “important to razor clams, raptors, snowy plovers, deer, elk and bear” as clean as possible, picking up 14,000 to 16,000 pounds of trash annually, WDFW said.

The Landowner of the Year award was given to Dave Morrow whose trees and property have gone towards restoring fish habitat on the Yakima River, though he might be more proud of the fact that, according to the agency, steelhead spawned in his backyard for the first time in three decades.

And Bob Palmer, who matriculated 166 new sportskids and others, was given the Terry Hoffer Memorial Firearm Safety Award for his hunter education work.

Kudos to all — you rock and are real heroes to Washington’s fish and wildlife!

If you’d like to volunteer your time towards noble causes like these, check out this WDFW page.

It details a number of upcoming projects — hatchery and habitat helpers, weed whackers, elk hazers, lek surveyors needed.

Westport Skippers Group Named WDFW Organization Of The Year

THE FOLLOWING IS A PRESS RELEASE FROM THE WASHINGTON DEPARTMENT OF FISH AND WILDLIFE

An association of charter boat skippers is playing a vital role in helping the department monitor salmon fisheries, while a volunteer from Pend Oreille County has helped the department manage species ranging from moose to mountain lions.

The Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife (WDFW) recognized the contributions of these and other top volunteers during its 2018 citizen awards ceremony today in Olympia.

The Westport Charterboat Association (http://charterwestport.com) took home an Organization of the Year award for its work to monitor salmon, accounting for nearly 50 percent of the salmon encounter data provided by volunteers coast-wide this past year.

CAPT. JONATHAN SAWIN OF THE CORMORANT ACCEPTS WDFW’S ORGANIZATION OF THE YEAR AWARD, GIVEN TO THE WESTPORT CHARTERBOAT ASSOCIATION FOR HELPING COLLECT CRUCIAL SALMON HARVEST DATA. (WDFW)

These data are used to determine overall impacts on salmon populations in mark-selective ocean salmon fisheries.

Mark-selective fisheries target salmon produced and marked at hatcheries to provide fish for harvest while supporting conservation of naturally spawning populations, said Wendy Beeghley, a WDFW fish biologist.

Data provided by the skippers and crews on both marked and non-marked fish have increased the department’s knowledge about salmon mark rates among all the salmon caught, including impacts of mark-selective salmon fisheries on unmarked populations.

“Over the past three years the Westport Charterboat Association skippers have really stepped up to help gather the data we need, supporting our science and management objectives in ways that are both economically efficient and effective,” said Beeghley.

The Lummi Nation was recognized with a Director’s Award for its swift response to Cooke Aquaculture’s accidental release of Atlantic salmon in Puget Sound last year.

LUMMI NATION OFFICIALS AND FISHERMEN WERE HONORED BY WDFW FOR THEIR FAST WORK TO CAPTURE ATLANTIC SALMON THAT ESCAPED FROM A SAN JUAN ISLANDS NETPEN LAST SUMMER. (WDFW)

“They were the first eyes on the water, providing the critical information Washington agencies needed to respond to this emergency,” said Joe Stohr, WDFW director. “Their fishers were on the scene immediately, working to contain the spill. We are grateful for their clarity of vision and expertise.”

Hank Jones, a land manager with the Calispel Duck Club, was recognized with a Volunteer of the Year award. Jones volunteers with the department to monitor wildlife–including moose, white-tailed deer and mountain lions by placing cameras and ground blinds to assist researchers.

HANK JONES’ HELP WITH NORTHEAST WASHINGTON WILDLIFE PROJECTS EARNED HIM VOLUNTEER OF THE YEAR FROM WDFW. (WDFW)

“Hank’s willingness to volunteer his time, labor and considerable outdoor knowledge has benefited wildlife research on dozens of occasions,” said Jared Oyster, a WDFW wildlife biologist. “He has even helped moose researchers weather snow emergencies in the field, including freeing a stuck snowmobile and housing our moose technician when the power went down.”

Hank’s support for both our research and the people on our research team means that we understand predator-prey relationships better in Washington, Oyster said.

Other citizen awards announced by WDFW recognize volunteer educators, including the following:

· Terry Hoffer Memorial Firearm Safety Award: John Malek received the Terry Hoffer award for his contributions as a hunter education instructor. Malek’s work with teams of instructors in 21 separate hunter education classes from across the state resulted in certification of more than 500 students.

JOHN MALEK RECEIVES THE TERRY HOFER MEMORIAL FIREARM SAFETY AWARD FROM WDFW DEPUTY DIRECTOR AMY WINDROPE. (WDFW)

“John is a workhorse that goes the extra mile,” said Steve Dazey, a hunter education and volunteer coordinator with WDFW. From training new hunter education instructors, to conducting spring turkey hunting clinics, to assisting at our largest National Hunting and Fishing Day event, John is always there preparing the next generation of safe and ethical hunters.”

The award honors Wildlife Agent Terry Hoffer, who was fatally wounded by a hunter accidentally discharging his firearm in 1984.

· WDFW also recognized Educator of the Year, Marty Kotzke for his work to certify 227 new hunters in 15 classes, recruit new instructors, and train more than 400 young hunters through state and national Youth Hunter Education Challenge competitions (https://yhec.nra.org/).

MARTY KOTZKE, HERE SHARING ADVICE DURING NATIONAL FISHING AND HUNTING DAY, WAS NAMED THE HUNTER ED EDUCATOR OF THE YEAR. (WDFW)

“Marty’s passion to teach youth is paralleled by his willingness to assist the department. He volunteers a tremendous amount of time not only to hunter education, but also to the department’s wildlife program. Marty is always there for us when we need a hand,” said Dave Whipple, hunter education division manager.

Citizen volunteers around the state logged nearly 60,000 hours on WDFW projects in 2017. WDFW welcomes volunteer help to benefit fish, wildlife and habitat. For more information, visit the agency volunteer page at http://wdfw.wa.gov/about/volunteer/.