Conservation Champions Honored at 81st Natural Resources Conference


IWJV Board Member Miles Moretti accepted the award on behalf of the IWJV.

Pheasants Forever & Quail Forever recently honored five wildlife professionals for their distinguishing contributions to conservation during the 81st North American Wildlife & Natural Resources Conference. Awards were presented to Pheasants Forever & Quail Forever partners who have championed wildlife habitat conservation efforts for upland species including pheasant, quail, sage grouse, and the lesser prairie-chicken. 

“These awards are presented annually to natural resource professionals who personify the wildlife habitat conservation mission of Pheasants Forever & Quail Forever,” stated Howard Vincent, Pheasants Forever & Quail Forever’s president and CEO. “Across the board, each individual has played a significant role in managing for upland birds and continues to support the partnership efforts of Pheasants Forever & Quail Forever. Congratulations to our award winners for 2016, we look forward to more wildlife habitat conservation accomplishments together in the coming days, months, and years. 

IWJV Coordinator Dave Smith was recognized due to his leadership and the Joint Venture’s involvement in delivering bird habitat conservation efforts across an 11-state region – including specialized program efforts for the Sage Grouse Initiative – of which Pheasants Forever plays a critical role in helping to deliver on private lands. His important work in the West has created the Sage-Grouse Initiative Strategic Watershed Action Team, a $10.6 million effort to build the field capacity, science, and communications capacity for this landmark initiative. Sagebrush habitat conservation is a high priority for the Intermountain West Joint Venture, as well as Pheasants Forever, since more than 90 percent of North American sagebrush habitats occur in the Joint Venture’s range. Smith’s leadership has been central to linking the Sage Grouse Initiative to local partners, and has also paired the Intermountain West Joint Venture, Pheasants Forever, NRCS, and more than 25 other organizations in the region to implement SGI projects throughout the bird’s native range.

“This is a tremendous honor because of the high level of respect and admiration that I have for Pheasants Forever as a national leader in wildlife habitat conservation and uniquely blue-collar organization,” said Dave Smith, IWJV Coordinator. “This award belongs to the IWJV staff – Brian McDonald, Tina Dennison, Lori Reed, Ali Duvall, Randy Gray, Seth Gallagher, and Hannah Ryan – that worked tirelessly over the last five years, hand-in-hand with PF staff, on SGI SWAT to build the capacity for SGI’s trend-setting approach to wildlife conservation through sustainable ranching. We are collectively grateful for the vision and determination of NRCS in launching and sustaining this remarkable initiative and the 40+ SGI SWAT paying partners,” Smith said. “This award is truly that of our team.”

Read more about this award and the other recipients here.