Wyoming Weed and Pest recognizes outstanding individuals at awards dinner
Cody – On Nov. 2, the Wyoming Weed and Pest Council hosted their annual awards banquet during the Wyoming Weed and Pest Conference held in Cody.
“This is the end-of-the-year awards banquet for the Weed and Pest employees, and it’s also our chance for the council to honor people outside of Weed and Pest for the contributions they make to fulfilling what we’re trying to do,” said Wyoming Weed and Pest Council President Adrian Hunolt during the festivities.
Cheryl Schwartzkopf was the 2016 recipient of the Everett Johnson Award, which recognizes recognize the service of a district employee who has demonstrated outstanding weed and pest management practices in their Wyoming Weed and Pest control district.
Schwartzkopf began working as an assistant supervisor for her district in 2002 where she strongly emphasized the importance of public relations.
“From 2002-11, she helped chair the public relations committee. In this role she set up educational booths, representing the Weed and Pest Council in many states and every spring and fall at workshops for Wyoming,” said 2015 Everett Johnson Award Recipient Steve McNamee.
In 2010, she became supervisor of Converse County. In that role, Schwartzkopf has been a driving force in state cheatgrass control.
“She was told by a Nebraska county commissioner that because of the Converse County Cheatgrass Tour in 2012, she was the main reason western Nebraska was working on cheatgrass in their area,” explained McNamee.
Her work in cheatgrass management has resulted in creating a partnership with Washington State University researchers to perform research in Wyoming.
“This partnership brought to Wyoming the first test plots of ACK55. Currently she is working with Washington State University to find a bacteria isolate that controls bulbous bluegrass and prairie three-awn grass,” he continued.
“The Archie Lauer Award is presented in honor of Archie Lauer to a Weed and Pest board member for their outstanding contribution to a weed and pest program within a district,” said Sublette County Weed and Pest Supervisor Andy Currah.
Although Currah never met Lauer, he said, “I feel as though I’ve gotten to know him through the characteristics and examples set him and by previous Archie Lauer Award recipients. I believe he would approve of this year’s recipient.”
2016 award recipient Monte Skinner has been a board member for Sublette County Weed and Pest for 25 years.
Through his years spent in the outdoors, Skinner has a keen understanding of the importance of managing invasive species and the impact they have on the native environment.
As such, Skinner strongly supports both public education and further education for district employees.
“He has always understood the importance of education and has always supported our efforts as a district educating landowners. He is always the first to support and attend any educational event that the supervisors of the district hold,” explained Currah.
Currah continued that Skinner is a strong supporter of giving the district employees the best tools to complete the task at hand.
“Whenever we, as employees, ask the Board to consider allowing us to upgrade any portion of our program and to use the best practices available, he supports us and has more than one occasion has referred back to the employees of the district to make the best management decisions for our projects,” he concluded.
“This weed and pest organization takes a lot to run across the state, and we depend on a lot of friends and outside people to help do this,” explained Park County Weed and Pest Supervisor Josh Shorb.
The 2016 Guy Haggard Award, which is given to individuals who provide support, friendship and loyalty to the organization, was awarded to Rep. Dan Laursen of Powell and Sen. Dave Kinskey of Sheridan.
During the state budget cuts last year, Shorb noted that the Office of State Lands was forced to cut many of their expenses.
“They were forced to cut their weed and pest funding out of their budget for control of noxious weeds and pests on their own land,” he said.
Rep. Laursen and Sen. Kinskey visited with the Council about some of the issues involving weed and pest control in the state. Shorb explained that they “took the bull by the horns.”
“Last year down at the session, there was a lot of cutting, and one of the few things that got added back into that budget was monies for control of weeds and pests on state lands,” said Shorb. “With Dan on the House side, Mr. Kinskey on the Senate side and a whole lot of heavy lifting by a lot of people, half of that line item was restored in the state budget.”
The 2016 recipient of the Harold Alley Award was Slade Franklin, Wyoming Weed and Pest coordinator with the Wyoming Department of Agriculture.
Franklin embodies the characteristics of support, leadership, motivation and education to help advance weed and pest control programs in Wyoming consistently, said 2015 Award Recipient Brian Mealor.
“He works with all of the districts and is really the main support system that keeps everybody connected on the important issues,” said Mealor. “He is the primary person the districts look to when issues arise, and if he doesn’t know the answer, he will promptly find one with his wealth of contacts and his support system.”
Franklin has represented the Council at the state an national level as a spokesperson and advocate.
“He stands up for us in the many battles that go on behind the scenes and is always looking for ways of improvement,” continued Mealor. “Slade Franklin is a wealth of knowledge, and there is no other person that supports, leads and motivates this organization as a whole quite like Slade does.”
Emilee Gibb is editor of Wyoming Livestock Roundup and can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.