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600 Capitol Way North, Olympia, WA 98501-1091

This document is provided for archival purposes only.
Archived documents do not reflect current WDFW regulations or policy and may contain factual inaccuracies.

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February 18, 1997
Contact: Ed Isenson, 360-902-2408

WDFW honors citizens for efforts benefiting fish and wildlife

OLYMPIA -- The Department of Fish and Wildlife has selected 22 citizens and groups to honor for outstanding efforts benefiting Washington's fish and wildlife, Director Bern Shanks has announced.

The annual awards singled out individuals for their work as landowners, volunteers and educators. Two organizations also received awards for their contributions to Washington's fish and wildlife.

Three persons shared the designation as Landowner of the Year: Dave Billingsley of Palisades, Daniel A. Dupuis of Battle Ground and John Hocking of Mt. Vernon.

Individuals recognized for their volunteer efforts were: Fred March of Cosmopolis, W.D. Wills of Burlington, Bill McKinnon of Bellingham, Joe Alongi of Castle Rock, Donald and Chris Sutherland of Toutle, Kate Slavens of Seattle, Jim Owens of Renton and Hal Boynton of Auburn.

Educators of the year included: Robert Brink of Yacolt, Tina Floyd and Eli Sterling of Earthbound Productions, Olympia; Karen Dvornich of Washington Cooperative Fish and Wildlife Research Unit, University of Washington, Seattle; Joyce Neufeld, Sue Vanderhyde and Serita Zimmerman, first grade teachers at Clark Elementary School, Issaquah; and Dr. Marie Pickel, superintendent of the North Mason School District.

Organizations of the year are The Trail Blazers of Seattle and the Washington State Future Farmers of America's Project Edge of Tacoma.

Billingsley, who owns and manages the 20,000-acre Billingsley Ranch in the Moses Coulee area of Grant and Douglas counties, earned the landowner award for his contributions to improving wildlife habitat on his ranch.

Also receiving Landowner of the Year awards were tree farmer Dupuis who restored fish rearing habitat on Chelatchie Creek, a tributary of the Cedar River and the North Fork of the Lewis River, and John Hocking of Mt. Vernon, who made possible the Bakerview Park stream restoration effort.

Alongi, one of eight persons selected as Volunteer of the Year, comes to the Toutle collection facility once a week to help sample adult steelhead, cutthroat and salmon. He also helps to transport these fish into Mt. St. Helens area streams.

Boynton has volunteered his time for many years on various projects that have significantly benefited fish and wildlife resources, including developing a trap to selectively harvest salmon and steelhead, restoring upper Chehalis steelhead and participating in the annual Pacific Fishery Management Council and North of Falcon processes.

March's salmon and steelhead spawning and rearing facility, located 48 miles up the North River from Willapa Bay, allows coho, chum, steelhead and chinook to spawn and co-exist in ponds and small, slow-flowing channels which simulate a natural environment.

McKinnon organized the construction and operation of Whatcom County's Peat Bog Creek rearing pond on the Middle Fork of the Nooksack River, which annually rears and releases 40,000 steelhead. McKinnon used a $40,000 WDFW grant to develop this $500,000 facility for the department.

Owens was selected for improving communications between the department and warmwater fishing constituents and serving as an advisory on the Inland Fish Policy Group. He is president of the Washington State B.A.S.S. Federation.

Over the past five years Slavens has played an important part in western pond turtle recovery efforts in Klickitat County. She has trapped, marked and tracked the turtles by radio, replaced transmitters and participated on other elements of the department's recovery program.

Donald and Chris Sutherland, father and son, were instrumental in saving 25,000 juvenile summer steelhead kept in a trap along the South Fork of the Toutle River. During the floods of February 1996, the Sutherlands went by back roads to the traps to clean screens and allow water into the trap so the fish would not die. Their actions helped save a sport fishery.

Wills is a leader in the Fidalgo Fly Fishers Club's work to rehabilitate the Bob Smith Creek in Skagit County. When the project is completed, 2000 feet of existing stream channel will be rehabilitated, 2000 feet of new channel will be constructed for coho over-wintering habitat, a series of six settling ponds will be constructed to trap sediments, and four remote site incubators will be installed to incubate 400,000 chum eggs. Close to 100 volunteers have been involved in this project.

Brink, who is an Educator of the Year, is a former teacher and owner-manager of the Pomeroy Living History Farm. He was cited for his work with Clark County public schools to educate students on issues involving timber management, fish and wildlife conservation, and how they can be compatible goals.

Pickel, another Educator of the Year award winner, played a key role creating the Hood Canal Theler Wetlands and Environmental Education Center in Belfair. She also has raised more than $1.8 million to construct 3.5 miles of handicapped-accessible interpretive trails and the environmental learning center with exhibits and classrooms.

Other Educator of the Year awards were received by:

  • Floyd and Sterling, co-directors of Olympia's Earthbound Production, produce the Procession of Species celebration held during Olympia's spring Artswalk. It was a spectacular and inclusive celebration of the natural world and an innovative approach to environmental education. They also have been active in other community projects.
  • Dvornich co-founded the Nature Mapping Program that shows citizens and schools children how to collect data useful to the WDFW. She has held workshops to train teachers and local government officials in nature mapping techniques and built a group of 500 citizen volunteers who contribute to the database.
  • Neufeld, Vanderhyde and Zimmerman, first grade teachers at Clark Elementary School in Issaquah, have developed a teaching program about marine animals and their habitat that culminates in a spring field trip.
Two groups were selected for the WDFW Organization of the Year award: The Trail Blazers and the Washington State Future Farmers of America Edge Project.

The Trail Blazers, a 63-year-old group, received an award for its work with WDFW to enhance alpine lake fishing, primarily through stocking. In 1995 its members stocked 115 lakes.

The other group cited, Future Farmers of America, through the Ecosystems Development Goes Educational (EDGE) Project, worked alongside WDFW staff to stabilize stream banks, plant trees and shrubs, develop ponds for wildlife use and maintain established habitat plots on WDFW lands and private farms in the Dayton area. Flooding last February severely damaged fish and wildlife habitat. FFA volunteers from Centralia, Chehalis, Davenport, Elma, Tacoma and Port Orchard planted more than 12,000 trees and shrubs.