Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Association of Great Lakes Outdoor Writers awards honors

NEW BUFFALO, MI - The Association of Great Lakes Outdoor Writers (AGLOW) awarded its highest honors to three recipients at their recent annual conference in Ashland, Wisconsin. Golden Glow awards were presented in the Individual, Public Servant and Organization categories to Mark VanPatten, Bill James and Quad City Conservation Alliance, respectively.

Missouri Streams Coordination Biologist receives Golden Glow Individual Award

Missouri Department of Conservation (MDC) Streams Coordination Biologist, Mark Van Patten received AGLOW's Golden Glow Individual Award in appreciation of his remarkable efforts and leadership relative to stream conservation.

VanPatten developed a love for Missouri streams as a teenager and was instrumental in stream team cleanup as a young adult. He started by recruiting the Roubidoux Fly Fishers help to clean up the Roubidoux, a small Ozark trout and smallmouth stream. Enlisting physical help from Lieutenant and State Governors created publicity and a springboard for future stream cleanups.

In 1993 the Conservation Federation of Missouri hired him as a full time stream cleanup coordinator and in 1998 the MDC took over the program and brought Van Patten on board as their Streams Coordination Biologist.

Under his leadership, the Stream Team Program has grown to almost 4,300 Stream Teams with over 86,000 volunteers not only picking up trash, but also trained to monitor water quality in cooperation with the Missouri Department of Conservation and Department of Natural Resources. Other states have adopted all or part of the Missouri Streams Team program.

Each year, as merited, AGLOW's Council of Past Presidents nominates and presents up to four deserving individuals or corporations for their highest honor, the Golden Glow Award.

Indiana Chief of Fisheries receives Public Servant Golden Glow Award

Indiana Department of Natural Resources (DNR) Chief of Fisheries, Bill James received AGLOW's Golden Glow Public Servant Award in recognition of his dedication to the improvement of our nation's sport fisheries through creative partnerships, adaptive management techniques and angler involvement.

Forty years ago, Bill James graduated from college in Iowa with a degree in Fisheries Biology and found an entry-level biologist's job with the State of Indiana. Ten years later, he became the youngest Chief of Fisheries in the nation. Today, James is also the longest serving Chief of Fisheries in the nation.

Indiana's fisheries resources - including the shared fisheries of Lake Michigan and the Ohio River -- have become diverse, prolific and well respected under James' leadership. During his tenure, a modern hatchery was constructed to supply salmonids to Lake Michigan, while additional hatcheries were constructed or remodeled to produce walleye, muskellunge, striped and hybrid striped bass, saugeyes and other fish to stock into Indiana's waterways.

James was instrumental in negotiating the bi-state agreement which turned the shared river St. Joseph in Indiana and Michigan into one of the best steelhead streams in the country and added yet another cold water hatchery to Indiana's system. The Bodine Hatchery is now the Skamania steelhead producer for all of the Great Lakes, with fingerlings going to Wisconsin, Michigan, Ohio and New York each year -- as well as healthy stockings for Indiana's streams and the St. Joe River. Indeed, James and the State of Indiana made this summer-run strain of steelhead famous, not the Skamania River Hatchery in Washington State where they were originated.

In the early 1990s Bill was a part of the negotiating team which codified the management of the Ohio River into one solid unit, with Illinois, Kentucky, Indiana, Ohio and Pennsylvania all agreeing to regulations and management goals which have turned the river into a premiere fishing destination in the eastern Midwest with largemouth and smallmouth bass, walleyes, saugeyes, hybrid and pure bred stripers and the some of the largest catfish in the country.

Bill James has not only survived forty years in a state bureaucracy, he has thrived there. This is not because he hid under the desk to wait out his career. It is because he proceeded forward with singleness of purpose - to improve recreational angling opportunities -- and made himself too valuable to fire, sidetrack or ignore.

Quad City Conservation Alliance receives Organization Golden Glow Award

A group of concerned Quad City area outdoorsmen met in one man's home to discuss putting on an outdoors show in the early 1980's. In that meeting were representatives of Moline Conservation Club, Fyre Lake Conservation Club, Quad Cities Chapter of Muskies, Inc., and QC Chapter of the In-Fisherman Club. The group decided to move ahead with their idea and rented space in a former discount store. Volunteers carried the entire load of planning and implementation. The show was a marginal success, and "profits" were used to purchase wood duck houses that were installed in Mississippi River backwaters.

The show was moved to a vacant former millwork building complex in its third year, and its success gained the attention and favor of the property's owner who offered to donate the entire complex to the group. The not-for-profit Quad City Conservation Alliance (QCCA) was born, but their challenges became even more difficult. Turning a former industrial complex into an appropriate outdoors show site with environmental, building demolition concerns and the like were faced almost daily. These challenges were overcome through perseverance.

The QCCA has grown and strengthened tremendously since those early days. The organization has evolved from holding a single outdoor show per year in rented space to hosting a dozen or more shows annually in its own 65,000 square foot exposition center located in Rock Island, Illinois. All of this is accomplished with a full-time staff of just three, part-timers as needed and some 800 dedicated volunteers.

Wildlife and conservation are the beneficiaries of the QCCA's efforts, as the organization has quietly raised and donating over $1.5 million for conservation, environmental and outdoors education projects within 90 miles of the Quad Cities. These financial contributions come in addition to the thousands of hours volunteered by QCCA folks every year to expand conservation, environmental and outdoor education projects in both Illinois and Iowa.

The QCCA is unique. There is no other similar group or organization known to exist in the country.

AGLOW is one of the nation's largest and most active professional outdoor communicators' organizations. Each year, as merited, AGLOW's Council of Past Presidents nominates and presents up to four deserving individuals or corporations for their highest honor, the Golden Glow Award. In receiving their awards, VanPatten, James and the QCCA join a list of past honorees including Aldo Leopold, Bruce Babbitt, John Dingell, Ducks Unlimited and Boy Scouts of America.