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Carolyn Sime was honored recently as Biologist of the Year by the Montana Chapter of The Wildlife Society for her decade-long effort to develop Montana’s wolf conservation and management program.

In making the announcement, the society noted that Sime’s work was instrumental in the effort to remove the gray wolves from the list of animals protected under the federal Endangered Species Act.

Chris Smith, former chief of staff for Montana Fish, Wildlife and Parks, presented the award to Sime, acknowledging that for more than a decade, Sime held one of the most challenging jobs in Montana’s wildlife management arena as Montana’s wolf program coordinator. He said she successfully maintained her professional credibility with the broadest possible spectrum of public interests and values.

In accepting her award, Sime said that it indeed had been a journey and acknowledged the contributions of so many other talented and dedicated people over the years. She noted the importance of the scientific basis of wildlife conservation and the value of The Wildlife Society to the profession, the resource and the public, especially in the midst of highly political issues.

Sime was removed as the FWP wolf coordinator in November 2010 when FWP Director Joe Maurier eliminated her position, in what some say was a political move. However, Maurier at the time said while Sime did a “fabulous job” during the past decade in handling wolf management issues, since they didn’t have a person earmarked to coordinate grizzly, elk or a deer, they didn’t need someone dedicated specifically to wolves.

 Sime received a standing ovation from her colleagues at the society’s awards banquet in February.

The society also gave out three other awards at its banquet.

Kurt Alt, an FWP retired regional manager from Bozeman, received the Distinguished Service Award for his career-long dedication and professional commitment to Montana’s wildlife.

The Bob Watts Communication Award was presented to well-known Montana author Doug Chadwick for his book “The Wolverine Way.” As an accomplished author of 10 books and hundreds of articles for magazines such as National Geographic, Audubon, Defenders of Wildlife and Smithsonian Magazine, Chadwick was recognized as someone who combines the skills of a professional field biologist with outstanding writing skills.

Carrie Hunt and the Wind River Bear Institute received The Wildlife Conservation Award for their dedication to reducing human-bear conflicts through the use of Karelian bear dogs and public education.  WRBI developed and pioneered the use of the dogs to reduce bear mortality and human bear conflicts through the practice of bear shepherding.

 For more information on MT TWS, the individual awards, or to obtain copies of the nomination forms for these awards please visit the website, www.MTTWS.org.

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