Brookville, In. — Each year, the DNR Division of Fish & Wildlife awards its top-performing employees for their contributions to conservation, mentoring, and teamwork.
The 2019 winners were Josh Griffin, Andrew Fairchild, Olivia Vaught, and the walleye crew.
Griffin was awarded the Fish & Wildlife Mentor Award. He serves as the private lands program manager, creating opportunities for private landowners to take part in wildlife conservation directly through habitat restoration and management. Griffin played an integral role in developing programs such as the Indiana Community Hunting Access Program and the Grasslands for Gamebirds and Songbirds Initiative.
Fairchild was awarded the Fish & Wildlife Conservation Cornerstone Award. He is a member of the Roush Lake Fish & Wildlife Area team. Fairchild stepped up when positions were left vacant and helped train new employees. He aided management by being flexible, sometimes working the shooting range during holidays.
Vaught was named the Fish & Wildlife Conservation Champion. During her three years as the assistant deer biologist, Vaught has provided outstanding service to wildlife and the public. Her commitment is often seen not only in the long hours she works, but also in the tasks she undertakes and the level of responsibility they require. In 2018, Vaught helped establish CWD surveillance programs, took on a leadership role with the Conservation Appreciation event committee, and authored several sections of the new comprehensive deer report.
This year’s Director Team of the Year Award went to the walleye crew. Walleye broodstock collection is an annual event at Brookville Lake that supports the statewide walleye and saugeye stocking program. The team aims to collect 35 million walleye eggs, which normally takes at least 15 consecutive days with four crews. This year, staff managed to take just under 38 million eggs in only eight days. Nearly five million eggs were stripped per day.