Biologist Butchko, Staff Honored for Partnership

By William H. Clay, Deputy Administrator, USDA Wildlife Services

Image Credit: USDA Wildlife Services

On August 18, the Michigan Department of Natural Resources held its annual all-hands meeting, complete with awards for the excellent work and service that the Wolverine State’s staff accomplishes. Also, the Department presented the Wildlife Services program in Michigan with the 2015 Ozz Warbach Award for outstanding partnership, which goes to an individual or organization outside the Wildlife Division that has been an exceptional partner with the State. It was named after Oscar “Ozz” Warbach, a research biologist and the Division’s Conservation Illustrator, who retired in 1977. Warbach demonstrated outstanding partnership with the public as he used illustration to make people aware of wildlife and environmental issues.

Pete Butchko, CWB, accepted the 2015 Ozz Warbach Award on behalf of the staff he led for the past 16 years. Image Credit:  USDA Wildlife Services

Pete Butchko, CWB, accepted the 2015 Ozz Warbach Award on behalf of the staff he led for the past 16 years. Image Credit: USDA Wildlife Services

“The group we honor is not a single-species or single-purpose entity. They work with us to solve many issues,” said Doug Reeves, assistant chief of the Department Natural Resources’ Wildlife Division. “These folks have been our number one partner in management of double-crested cormorants. They have been involved with wolf management right alongside us for many years. They deal with deer in many locations but in the last few months have collected literally hundreds of samples for our CWD testing effort in the Lansing area. They do the permitting for goose relocation these days. You name it and they will find a way to catch it!” Reeves also cited management of predators to protect endangered species and of invasive species like mute swans and feral swine.

Pete Butchko, CWB® and recently retired director for the WS-Michigan staff, accepted the award on behalf of the staff he led for the past 16 years. Recognition for exceptional partnership is an achievement for a program like WS that conducts all of its work in a collaborative model, whether those we work for are Federal or State agencies, farmers, airports, or private businesses and citizens. During his 38-year career, in California and Ohio before Michigan, Pete Butchko was known for his ability to communicate and connect with people as well as his scientific expertise and commitment to stewardship. WS appreciates the recognition that Russ Mason and the Michigan DNR expressed in making this award.

Wildlife Services is a Strategic Partner of TWS.