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Wyoming People

Wyo Association of Conservation Districts honors citizens for conservation work

Written by Natasha Wheeler

Laramie – At their annual convention, themed “Partners in Resource Excellence,” the Wyoming Association of Conservation Districts (WACD) recognized a number of employees and partners for their work throughout the year during their Nov. 4 award luncheon.

Presidential Award

The 2015 Presidential Award was presented to Bob Budd of the Wyoming Wildlife and Natural Resource Trust and Joe Budd of the Wyoming Department of Agriculture for their work on sage grouse and the policies surrounding sage grouse.

Bob and Joe worked extensively over the past several years conducting and participating in meetings, pouring over documents and providing comments on federal policy documents related to sage grouse.

Many in the state credit the pair with being instrumental in keeping sage grouse off the Endangered Species List.

From the community

As News Reporter of the Year, Lacey Brott of the Lusk Herald was recognized for her work covering Niobrara Conservation District’s classroom visits, Wyoming Ag in the Classroom work and the Wyoming Wildlife Collection. She has covered a variety of topics both in writing and in photos.

Outstanding Cooperator of the Year Dennis Ellis of Anadarko Land Corp. was recognized for many years of work in facilitating conservation work.

“He truly understands the value of partnerships and working with governmental entities,” WACD noted.

Ellis has also served in many volunteer and advisory capacities in his career.

In education

Tracianne Zerbe and Jaymie Lambert of Lusk Elementary and Middle School were honored as Teachers of the Year. The pair has utilized Niobrara Conservation District and their surrounding area to teach students.

“With backgrounds in ranching, both ladies have a key interest in exposing their young students to the wonders of our natural resources and agriculture,” read their nomination, also noting that Zerbe and Lambert have taken on a variety of projects to involve students.

Sweetwater County School Board District Two was honored as Outstanding Elected Official for the addition of the FFA program at Green River High School. Through the addition of the program, students will have an increased opportunity to learn about agriculture and natural resources.

Landowners

John and Jane Dooley were recognized as Outstanding Small Acreage Cooperator for 2015. The couple resides on the Goshen County-Niobrara County border, and they have taken on structural rehabilitation projects, reseeding to eliminate invasive species and sagebrush control.

“All said and done, John and Jane have become great neighbors and stewards of the land,” WACD mentioned.

Conservation awardees

Keela Deaton was recognized as Outstanding Conservationist for a decade worth of work with the Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS). Deaton’s career has led to extensive knowledge of both NRCS and conservation district programs, which allows her to coordinate local projects with federal opportunities and district programs.

The 2015 Outstanding Technician award went to Todd Schuldies of the Natrona, Niobrara, Converse and Platte County Resource Districts.

“Todd does an outstanding job preparing plans and designs, making useful suggestions and working one-on-one with producers,” said WACD. “He is wealth of knowledge, from innovative ideas, suggesting the most current and efficient products to providing the vendor lists our producers need.”

In addition, WACD noted that Schuldies has also developed a positive relationship with producers, allowing more opportunity for conservation work on the ground.

From the conservation districts

In 2015, two outstanding employees were recognized – Jeri Trebelcock of Popo Agie Conservation District and Randy Williams of Teton Conservation District.

Trebelcock joined the conservation districts over 20 years ago and initiated a number of important projects, including the Gardening and Backyard Living Expo. She also facilitated involvement in the Rangeland Health Assessment Program and Coordinated Resource Management programs.

She retired this year as a conservation district employee.

Williams also has a long-standing tenure, with 15 years in the conservation district. He also retired this year.

During his time in Teton County, Williams participated in completion of federal forest plans, wetland delineation and associated mitigation plans and a number of watershed and stream studies.

Outstanding Supervisor for 2015 was Kevin Gaukel of the Niobrara Conservation District.

Gaukel’s work in hosting students on the family farm and ranch and implementation of conservation practices led to his nomination for the award. The Gaukels have participated in a number of conservation district activities and have been active in leadership roles within the district and state.

The Wyoming Weed and Pest Council and Wyoming Section of the Society for Range Management also presented awards during the 2015 meeting. Look for more award winners in next week’s Roundup.