West Virginia Division of Natural Resources (DNR) employee Arthur L. Shomo and recently retired employee William K. Igo received prominent awards at the 68th Northeast Fish and Wildlife Conference held April 15–17, 2012 in Charleston, according to Curtis Taylor, Chief of the Wildlife Resources Section. “The DNR and the sportsmen and women of the state should be proud to have these well deserving employees honored with such distinguished awards. This recognition demonstrates professional respect from their peers and the high level of competence of West Virginia Wildlife Resources Section staff,” said Taylor.

Art Shomo received the Communicator of the Year award from the Northeast Conservation Information and Education Association. The award is given for contributions in Communications and Education, including outreach innovations, program development, publications and for dedicated service to the fields of communications or education.

Shomo received his undergraduate degree in wildlife biology from Utah State University and graduate degree in wildlife from Colorado State University. He was the leader in developing the DNR’s Project Wild program in the early 1980s. He has conducted hundreds of Project Wild workshops in schools across the state, has been instrumental in developing the state’s Envirothon competition, and makes presentations to numerous local and statewide organizations about West Virginia’s wildlife and the importance of resource management in the state. He also participates as an instructor at the state junior conservation camp and each year introduces conservation science to about 200 middle school students. He coordinates the review and publication of the DNR’s annual hunting and fishing regulations, news releases, other brochures and legislative rules and statutes. He is also the editor of the West Virginia Wildlife magazine.

“Art’s efforts through the years have had a positive impact on thousands of the state’s young people, giving them an appreciation of our wildlife and natural resources they might not have gotten otherwise,” Taylor said.

William “Bill” Igo was honored with the William T. Hesselton award from the Northeast Wildlife Administrators. The award is given annually to a wildlife biologist in the northeast United States who has demonstrated initiative and made significant contributions that further the ideals of the Federal Aid in Wildlife Restoration Program. The purpose of the Wildlife Restoration Program is to provide funding for the selection, restoration, rehabilitation and improvement of wildlife habitat, research into factors affecting wildlife management, hunter training programs and the development, operation and maintenance of public target ranges.

Igo received both his Bachelor of Science and Master of Science degrees in wildlife management from West Virginia University and was a wildlife biologist for the DNR for more than 35 years. His contributions varied widely from management, research, land acquisition to coordination on the Monongahela National Forest. Bill was a key researcher and biologist involved in the highly successful Appalachian Cooperative Grouse Research Project. This innovate research involved collaboration between numerous agencies and universities and culminated with winning the prestigious Wildlife Monograph of the year from The Wildlife Society. In addition to his important ruffed grouse work, Bill served as the wild turkey and upland game bird biologist and was a contributor on numerous wildlife survey projects.

“The majority of the projects in which Bill has participated directly reflect the ideals of the Federal Aid in Wildlife Restoration Program and we will certainly miss his expertise as a valued employee,” said Taylor.

“There are many Wildlife Resources Section projects and programs that would not have been completed, or even started, if it had not been for Bill’s and Art’s tremendous efforts,” said Taylor.

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