Saturday night, Gary Cole, a farmer from Pomeroy, was named the winner of the 1995 award for the best continuing wildlife enhancement project by Safari Club International’s Inland Empire Chapter.
Ongoing projects to plant wind breaks and leave unharvested food plots for wildlife on Cole’s farm were impressive enough for the $500 award, said Alan Knott, the club’s wildlife enhancement coordinator. But Cole’s gone beyond that to develop springs and “guzzler” water collectors for birds and animals, maintain feeders for wintering birds, establish permanent grass and legume cover for bird nesting and predator protection.
“Gary has done all this on a large scale,” Knott said. “The volume is what’s so impressive - not one guzzler, but many!”
Cole was one of four finalists for the award, including Dale Davis of Deer Park, Willard Hennings of Ritzville and Ron Dexter of Spokane.
The club started the annual award last year to acknowledge and reward farmers, ranchers and other individuals who establish or protect outstanding wildlife habitat. Items considered in judging include wintering ground, food sources, surrounding conditions, long-term benefits, impact on wildlife, accessibility, breeding and nesting grounds.
Safari Club received 40 entries this year, ranging from backyard bird feeders to farm plots encompassing several hundred acres, Knott said.
“It was a tremendous feeling making the on-site evaluations and seeing the enthusiasm of each participant for wildlife conservation,” Knott said.
Anyone, including past entrants, can enter the 1996 awards program by sending photos, videos or detailed written descriptions of their wildlife projects to: Alan Knott, 24424 W. Thorpe, Espanola, WA 99022. Info: 299-5206.
Nine-year-old Trey Russell of Post Falls won the Washington State CastingKids competition for his age group in Seattle recently, earning an expense-paid trip to the national semi-finals in Quincy, Ill., April 19-20. Russell qualified for the state event by winning the local competition sponsored by the Spokane Bass Anglers. The other local winner, Justin Robison of Post Falls, placed third at the Kingdome.
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