March 24, 2009
Elk Country Awards Recognize U.S. Forest Service Employees
MISSOULA, Mont.—U.S. Forest Service employees in California, Colorado and Oregon are earning special recognition for their work enhancing and conserving habitat for elk and other wildlife. Each has received a 2009 Elk Country Award presented by the Forest Service and Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation.
“This year’s awards honor some of the finest conservationists and conservation efforts anywhere in North America. We’re proud to call these professionals our partners,” said Jack Blackwell, vice president of lands and conservation for the Elk Foundation.
California—Modoc National Forest
Elk Country Award: Wildlife Habitat Management Achievement. Modoc National Forest is home to two subspecies of elk, Roosevelt and Rocky Mountain, and managers have made outstanding improvements to habitat for both, as well as other wildlife. More than 3,243 acres of summer, winter and transition ranges have been enhanced via prescribed burns to revitalize shrubs and herbaceous forage. Encroaching juniper and conifer are being removed to improve aspen stands and sagebrush steppe habitat. Forage plants such as grasses, forbs, bitterbrush and mountain mahogany have been enhanced and water developments (guzzlers) have been built in key areas.
Colorado—Melanie Woolever, U.S. Forest Service, Denver
Elk Country Award: Individual Achievement. Woolever, the wildlife program leader in Region 2 of the Forest Service, was recognized for her longstanding dedication to wildlife programs and habitat improvement in elk country. She has served on RMEF project advisory committees in both Colorado and Wyoming since 1987, helping evaluate conservation projects and their benefits to habitat for elk and other wildlife. Her knowledge of upland habitats, management techniques, leadership and professionalism make Woolever a well-respected asset to conservation efforts in the West.
Oregon—Mark Henjum, Umatilla National Forest
Elk Country Award: Partnership Achievement. This inaugural award honors Henjum’s years of dedication to partnership and coordination on the Blue Mountains Elk Initiative. The biologist served in this role while on staff with the Oregon Dept. of Fish and Wildlife, then with the Umatilla National Forest. Henjum works with four national forests and many partners to form one of the most efficient conservation initiatives anywhere in elk country. He solicits project proposals, heads up a technical review committee, and is a voting member of RMEF project advisory committees in Oregon and Washington. Henjum recently identified $80,000 in new funding for conservation projects.
The awards, bronze sculptures of elk, were presented March 6 at the Elk Foundation convention in Fort Worth, Texas.