Every year, the Montana Wildlife Federation takes time at our Annual Meeting to recognize the contributions of individuals who have done outstanding work on behalf of wildlife and conservation. At our 2015 meeting, we recognized three leaders for their efforts.
Representative Tom Jacobson from Great Falls and Representative Jeff Wellborn from Dillion were jointly recognized as MWF’s Legislator(s) of the Year.
Hailing from House District 21, Representative Jacobson has been a tireless champion for wildlife, habitat, and public access since his election in 2012. During the 2015 Legislative Session, Jacobson led the charge for public access, including MWF’s bill to keep open disputed public roads to public land. Jacobson was also a tireless defender of science-based wildlife management and habitat protection.
Representative Wellborn represents House District 72 in Southwestern Montana. During the 2014 Interim Session, Wellborn served on the Fish, Wildlife and Parks (FWP) License and Funding Advisory Council. In 2015, he introduced a bill (HB 140) to implement the group’s recommendations and shepherded those recommendations through the legislative process. As a result of Wellborn’s hard work to build bipartisan support, Montana’s hunting and fishing licenses have been simplified dramatically while also putting FWP on a path to financial sustainability. Wellborn has also been a reliable supporter of a number of other common-sense habitat protection and wildlife management bills.
Carol Fox of Helena was awarded the Les Pengelly Conservation Professional Award. This award is given to a state, federal, or local conservation professional who provided the most significant conservation achievement in Montana for the previous year.
Fox retired in 2014 from a 30-year career as an environmental manager with the State of Montana. Beginning in 2000, Fox led the Montana Natural Resource Damage Program, which used funds from legal settlements associated with mine cleanup to pay for habitat restoration and remediation. Of her many accomplishments, Fox’s work in the Upper Clark Fork River basin was of particular significance to Montana’s hunters and anglers. She worked with diverse local interests to direct funds at priority restoration needs, helping revive one of Montana’s most iconic rivers.