Sage Grouse Initiative Field Staff Earn Top Awards From Pheasants Forever

September 19, 2013

 

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FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Contact: Sam Lawry, Pheasants Forever western regional director
p. (406) 552-5052  |  f. (406) 363-2518  |   slawry@pheasantsforever.org 

 

September 19, 2013

Sage Grouse Initiative field staff Gillian Brooks and Scott Scroggie earned prestigious awards from Pheasants Forever at a recent national staff meeting in Estes Park, Colorado. Howard Vincent, CEO of Pheasants Forever, presented Brooks with the Landowner Service award and Scroggie, the “Acre Maker” award.

 “It’s impressive to see two SGI biologists recognized at high levels out of more than 100 Farm Bill biologists working in Pheasants Forever partner positions,” said Sam Lawry, PF western regional director.

Pheasants Forever supports seven of the 24 SGI field staff working with landowners in 11 western states to put conservation projects on the ground. In 2011, the Natural Resources Conservation Service teamed up with the Intermountain West Joint Venture (a bird habitat partnership group) and more than 30 partners to expand field delivery in rural sage grouse strongholds.

Gillian Brooks, who is stationed in Belle Fourche, South Dakota, exhibits outstanding service to landowners carrying out Pheasants Forever and Quail Forever habitat conservation. Her efforts to enroll landowners in SGI programs resulted in more than 127,000 acres of enhanced acres for sage grouse. She also secured grant funding for placing 250 sage grouse escape ramps in livestock tanks, and more than four miles of fencemarkers to save birds from deadly fence collisions near leks, the breeding grounds. 

“When Gillian arrived in 2011, she didn’t waste time getting the word out about SGI to the landowners,” Lawry said. “After a mail campaign targeting 80 ranchers and farmers in the core sage grouse areas, the applications started coming in and the word continues to spread as people see the positive results for grazing and grouse.”

Scott Scroggie’s award recognizes his outstanding leadership, dedication and passion leading to significant habitat accomplishments. He played a key role in the Burley, Idaho, juniper removal project, a multi-million dollar conservation partnership to restore more than 32,000 acres of sagebrush habitat.

Scroggie began his SGI career in Ely, Nevada, in 2012, and ten months later transferred to Burley as an SGI range conservationist. On his first day, he took on the role of project officer for the juniper removal partnership funded by SGI via Natural Resources Conservation Service Farm Bill dollars, Pheasants Forever, Bureau of Land Management, and Idaho Fish and Game.

“Scott spent some 40 consecutive days on foot overseeing contractors in rugged western landscapes often in near freezing temperatures to see this project through,” said Lawry.  “He became the real expert on juniper control and is known for his positive “can do” attitude with agencies, contractors, and landowners.”

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Left to right: Howard Vincent, CEO of Pheasants Forever;  Holly Wilkens, Farm Bill biologist, Kansas;  Brandon Beltz, Farm Bill Biologist, Illinois; Rachael Bush, Farm Bill Biologist, North Dakota and Scott Scroggie, SGI range conservationist, Idaho.

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The Sage Grouse Initiative is a partnership-based, science-driven effort that uses voluntary incentives to proactively conserve America’s western rangelands, wildlife, and rural way of life. This initiative is part of Working Lands For Wildlife, which is led by USDA’s Natural Resources Conservation Service.