Seven New SGI Field Biologists/Rangeland Conservationists Attend Missoula 2-Day Training

March 26, 2014

From left: Instructor Jeremy Maestas (SGI technical lead), Instructor Dave Naugle (SGI science advisor), Michael Brown (Pheasants Forever, Ephrata, WA), Ed Contreras (behind Mike, PF, Mountain Home, ID), Kelsey Molloy, Montana Association of Conservation Districts, Malta, MT), Blaise Allen, Meeteetse Conservation District, Meeteetse, WY), Leah Lewis,
(Mule Deer Foundation, Tremonton, Utah), Rachelle Peppers (PF, Elko, NV), Instructor Tim Griffiths (SGI national coordinator,NRCS), Lara Fondow (PF, Rexburg, ID)

MISSOULA, MONTANA

The Sage Grouse Initiative relies on its 24 partner field staff to work one-on-one with landowners in sage grouse strongholds across 11 western states. Every rangeland conservationist or biologist comes well-qualified for the competitive positions.  However, a key component for every new hire is to be trained specifically to carry out SGI.  That means learning everything from in-depth sage grouse biology to tips and tools for working with landowners and building community partnerships.

Within the last six months, SGI has hired seven new staff to fill vacant positions in Nevada, Washington, Utah, Idaho, Montana, and Wyoming.  The group gathered, along with other partners, for a two-day workshop in Missoula, Montana, March 25-26.

SGI appreciates the time and expertise of the trainers in addition to our four full-time SGI staff (Tim Griffiths, SGI national coordinator;  Jeremy Maestas, SGI technical lead & coordinator for the training;  Dave Naugle, SGI science advisor; Deborah Richie, SGI Communications Director): Greg Neudecker, USFWS PFW, Montana state coordinator; Kyle Tackett, NRCS district conservationist, Dillon, Montana; Sam Lawry, Pheasants Forever, western regional director; Jon Siddoway, NRCS Montana state rangeland management specialist; Pete Husby, NRCS Montana state biologist; Erik Suffridge, NRCS, Montana assistant state conservationist for programs; Lindsay Schmitt, NRCS rangeland management specialist, Dillon, Montana; and Tina Dennison, project coordinator, IWJV, Missoula, Montana.

SGI also commends all our hard-working field staff and the more than 35 partners who fund and support the positions, made possible through the Intermountain West Joint Venture.  (Download our Fact Sheet on this model program).

SGI officially welcomes our newest field staff:

lara fondow sgi range ecologist

Lara Fondow, Pheasants Forever & partners, Rexburg, Idaho

 

Ed Contreras, Pheasants Forever & partners, Mountain Home, Idaho

Ed Contreras, Pheasants Forever & partners, Mountain Home, Idaho

 

Leah Lewis, Mule Deer Foundation & partners, Tremonton, Utah

Leah Lewis, Mule Deer Foundation & partners, Tremonton, Utah

 

Blaise Allen, Meeteetse Conservation District, Meeteetse, Wyoming

Blaise Allen, Meeteetse Conservation District, Meeteetse, Wyoming

 

Rachelle Peppers, Pheasants Forever & partners, Elko, Nevada

Rachelle Peppers, Pheasants Forever & partners, Elko, Nevada

 

Mike Brown, Pheasants Forever & partners, Ephrata, Washington

Michael Brown, Pheasants Forever & partners, Ephrata, Washington

 

Kelsey Molloy, Montana Association of Conservation Districts & partners, Malta, Montana

Kelsey Molloy, Montana Association of Conservation Districts & partners, Malta, Montana

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.