VOLUNTEERS: State agency honors top individuals, groups GET INVOLVED:

Staff reportMay 25, 2014 

A Puyallup organization and an Olympia helicopter pilot were among those honored Tuesday with a Citizen Award from the state Department of Fish and Wildlife.

The Puyallup Historical Hatchery Foundation was recognized as Educator of the year for its community engagement and volunteer effort to preserve and restore the historic Puyallup fish hatchery, said a department news release. The foundation has committed itself to public education on the importance of the watershed, techniques for salmon recovery, and the history of the hatchery.

Jess Hagerman with Northwest Helicopters in Olympia received the department’s special appreciation award for his career-long dedication and outstanding piloting skill supporting the agency’s wildlife capture and aerial survey operations.

Rosann Green of Ephrata was named one of three volunteers of the year. Among her efforts, Green helped capture more than 100 ground squirrels for relocation. She also has helped recolonize pygmy rabbits, build duck blinds, band geese, collect crappie for research and process deer meat for food banks.

“Rosann has offered her assistance for every volunteer effort I have ever initiated,” biologist Rich Finger said in a prepared statement. “She is truly committed to assisting in WDFW’s mission and deserves recognition.”

Joe Greenhaw of Snoqualmie, also a volunteer of the year, was honored for his help surveying and monitoring the health of bighorn sheep herds. Since participating in the department’s response to a pneumonia epidemic in the Tieton herd, he is now working to monitor the Umtanum/Selah Butte herd, which is recovering from a previous infection.

He has led fundraising efforts to help preserve bighorns and other big-game species such as mountain goats, antelope, and black tailed deer.

The final volunteer of the year was Jay Koetje of Mount Vernon, who led an effort to improve management of the Farmed Island Unit of the Skagit Wildlife Area. After the only available access to the island — a department-owned barge — was condemned for safety reasons in 2012, Koetje offered financial and volunteer assistance. He purchased a barge and made it available for use in maintaining the island unit for waterfowl. Additionally, he provided use of a boat to push the barge, seed for planting barley and corn for waterfowl, all-terrain vehicles, tractors and fuel to maintain farming and dikes.

Peter Lancaster of Seattle was named landowner of the year for more than 10 years of assistance with pygmy rabbit surveys and reintroduction. His efforts include discovery of a previously unknown colony of pygmy rabbits. He also purchased land in the Columbia Basin to support preservation of the species.

The Curlew Lake Association was named organization of the year for releasing more than 500,000 rainbow trout into Curlew Lake since 2004 in a cooperative net-pen project with the agency. Association members overcame challenges of high summer water temperatures by employing methods to increase growth and survival of the fish they rear, contributing to the popular trout fishery.

Volunteers help with activities and projects that benefit fish, wildlife and habitat statewide. In 2013, volunteers donated an estimated 65,750 hours of their time on agency projects. To learn how you can take part, go to wdfw. wa.gov/about/volunteer.

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