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Swan Valley, Helmville individuals
honored by Montana Audubon


Seeley Swan Pathfinder
May 13, 1999


At its Annual Meeting, held April 23-25 in Hamilton, Montana Audubon recognized four Montanans for their exceptional contributions to conservation.

Conservationist of the Year to Rod Ash of Condon, for his devotion to Montanas wildlife, forests, and land. As a long-time member of Audubon, Rod has been instrumental at the local, state and national levels, and has played a critical role in shaping and developing Montana Audubon. He has been an active member of both the Flathead Chapter of Audubon and the state office, and has been a member of Montana Audubon's Board since 1988, serving as president from 1992 to 1995. His accomplishments include:

Assisting with the development and implementation of forestry Best Management Practices and Streamside Management Zone regulations for the state of Montana.

Playing an integral part in the Family Forestry Expo, an industry and community program that looks at the history and future of logging.

Spearheaded the development of the Swan Ecosystem Center, a cooperative community environmental education facility for which he currently serves as president.

Finally, as a leader of the Swan Citizens Ad Hoc Committee, Rod has worked with a diverse group of individuals in the Swan Valley to make that community a better place to live.

Lifetime Achievement Award to Gordon and Lila Weber of Billings, for their twenty-five years of volunteer efforts on behalf of the Yellowstone Valley Audubon Chapter and Montana Audubon. Together they have served on the board of the Yellowstone Valley ChapterGordon as treasurer for the past twenty years and Lila as newsletter editoras well as volunteers for many of the chapter's activities, including the Christmas Bird Count and recycling program.

Land Steward of the Year to Mary Bradshaw of Helmville and Helena, for her extraordinary effort to restore over 200 surface acres of wetlands at her H2_O Ranch on the Blackfoot River. Since she purchased the ranch in 1992, Mary has worked closely with the Montana Department of Fish, Wildlife and Parks, as well as with Audubon, to introduce innovative cattle grazing techniques and native grasses. In addition, the education program Mary developed has introduced hundreds of schoolchildren and others to wetlands ecology and the abundant number of bird species and other wildlife that are found on the H2_O as a result of her work.

Environmental Educator of the Year to Beth Underwood of Stevensville. Beth has been active in environmental education in Western Montana for over 20 years, initiating several environmental education programs at the National Bison Range and the Lee Metcalf National Wildlife Refuge. She has donated countless hours of her own time networking and coordinating with hundreds of teachers, agency employees, naturalists, artists, and business people to set up conservation programs that have positively impacted the land and the people locally, statewide, and even nationwide. Over the past six years, she has worked closely with the Bitterroot Audubon Chapter, and has been lead influence and organizer for many environmental education programs, including:

The Montana Federal Junior Duck Stamp Program - Students learn about waterfowl and their habitat and compete in a stamp art contest.

The Migration Mania Festival - an annual festival centered around International Migratory Bird Day.

S.T.O.K.E.D. (Students Teaching Other Kids Ecological Dynamics) ñ High School Seniors in Advanced Biology work with resource professionals to develop presentations on ecological topics which in turn they teach those subjects to grade school students.

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