Two Fish, Wildlife and Parks employees were recognized for their outstanding work during the Governor’s Awards Ceremony on Monday, Sept. 16.
Renee Lemon, who is in the Responsive Management Unit at FWP Headquarters in Helena, and Mark Schlepp, a wildlife area manager in FWP’s Region 4, each received a Governor’s Award for Excellence in Performance during the ceremony.
Lemon worked closely with Deborah Wambach at Montana Department of Transportation, in making the Montana Wildlife and Transportation Summit a reality. They worked with more than 160 participants to develop common understanding about wildlife-vehicle conflicts and wildlife movement across Montana highways, according to Lemon, who is in her fourth year with FWP. The summit was a starting point; Lemon said the discussion needs to continue with input from communities and landowners.
“The best part of this project was working with five incredible people from the Montana Department of Transportation, Montanans for Safe Wildlife Passage, and the Western Transportation Institute at Montana State University,” Lemon said. “As a team, we planned the summit. We shared our different perspectives around wildlife and transportation, and this laid a foundation for open and honest conversations at the summit.”
Schlepp manages a work force of eight that operates and maintains nine wildlife management areas, including Beartooth, Beckman, Blackleaf, Ear Mountain, Freezout Lake, Judith River, Marias River, Smith River and Sun River. They total about 110,000 deeded and leased acres.
“He really showcases our WMAs,” says Cory Loecker, FWP Region 4 Wildlife Manager. “He keeps the weeds down, the fences up, the roads and culverts maintained and the buildings in good condition. He is also a key player in maintaining and enhancing wildlife habitat and managing public recreation of these areas.”
It’s a team effort, Schlepp said: “I am nothing without the maintenance crew. They are the nuts and bolts. The work doesn’t get done without them.”
Schlepp started with FWP in November 1985. He took over the FWP Region 4 post in 1991.
“For both Mark and Renee, this award acknowledges the importance of leadership, vision and teamwork in meeting our goals as an agency and our obligations to the public we serve in being inclusive in our work, having integrity and balance and providing opportunities outside,” said FWP director Martha Williams.
The Governor’s awards for excellence in performance is given annually to outstanding state employees. Agencies nominate individuals or teams, who through exceptional achievement and innovative ideas, improve the quality and productivity of state government programs, save the state money or demonstrate significant leadership.
The awards were established in 1990 by Gov. Stan Stephens.