Arizona Game and Fish Officials Honroed by the Western Association of Fish and Wildlife Agencies

Source:  Western Outdoor Times, September 1, 2017

The Western Association of Fish and Wildlife Agencies (WAFWA) honored four leaders from the Arizona Game and Fish Department (AZGFD) for their conservation efforts at an awards ceremony last month.

Craig McMullen received the WAFWA Professional of the Year Award for achievements during his 24-year career with AZGFD. Starting with the department in 1993 as a Wildlife manager, McMullen quickly moved into positions of increasing responsibility including as chief of the Wildlife Recreation Branch and regional supervisor in Flagstaff for the past five years. In July, he was promoted to role of assistant director of field operations for AZGFD. “I am honored to have received the award of Professional of the Year,” McMullen said. “The award reflects the great and important work done by the Arizona Game and Fish Department and everyone who is a part of those efforts.”

The President’s Award was presented to the Mule Deer Working Group, which is led by Jim Heffelfinger, Wildlife science coordinator for AZGFD. The Mule Deer Working Group develops strategies to assist in the management of Mule Deer populations throughout the West, works to improve communication among Mule Deer biologists, and provides a forum to respond to information needs from agencies. “Our success rests entirely on robust collaboration and communication to deliver Mule Deer conservation across state and provincial boundaries,” Heffelfinger said.

AZGFD Wildlife Recreation Branch Chief Scott Lavinreceived the Contributor of the Year Award for his work on WAFWA’s Hunter, Angler, Shooting Sports and Wildlife Recreation Participation workgroup. Lavin’s efforts in Arizona continue to maintain a longstanding and active statewide R3 collaboration with strong industry support.

Recently retired AZGFD Director Larry Voyles was awarded with a WAFWA lifetime membership for his career accomplishments and service to the department.

The awards were presented in Vail, Colo., at WAFWA’s annual conference.

Arizona Game and Fish Accepting Applications for 2018 Heritage Fund Grants

Source:  Arizona Game and Fish Department Press Release – August 11, 2017

The Arizona Game and Fish Department is accepting applications for more than $400,000 in Heritage Fund grants. The deadline to submit an application is Tuesday, Oct. 31, 2017 to be eligible for grant funding, which will be available through a competitive application process in the following categories: environmental education, outdoor education, schoolyard habitat, urban wildlife/habitat, public access; and Identification, Inventory, Acquisition, Protection and Management (IIAPM).

In addition to government agencies, the department welcomes non-profit organizations to apply for a Heritage Grant as eligible applicants. This eligibility applies to any non-profit group which meets the internal revenue service definition of a 501(c) organization.

The Heritage Fund was created after voters approved an initiative in 1990 and is funded through Arizona Lottery ticket sales. Heritage funding goes toward conservation efforts such as protecting endangered species, educating students and the general public about wildlife and the outdoors, and creating new opportunities for outdoor recreation.

The grant program was established by AZGFD in 1992 as part of the overall Heritage Fund program. The grants were initially developed as a way to promote outreach to enhance important partnerships and generate fresh approaches in support of the department’s mission. Since the grant program’s inception, the department has awarded more than $16 million and supported more than 800 projects throughout the state.

Applicants for this year’s grants should refer to the documents on our Heritage Grant web page for guidance on applying. The documents include the Heritage Grant application manual, the grant application form and the various “Heritage Grant Funding Window” documents, which describe eligibility information and provide specific eligibility criteria listed within each grant sub-category.

Potential grant recipients must have a project that is either located in Arizona or involves research in which the wildlife or its habitat is located in the state and meets the requirements in the funding windows.

Proposals and applications for these grants can be submitted either by e-mail to rbeck@azgfd.gov or mailed to Arizona Game and Fish Department, Attn: Wildlife Grant Administrator, 5000 W. Carefree Highway, Phoenix, AZ 85086. No faxed applications will be accepted.

Applicants can submit grant applications up until the application deadline of 5 p.m. (MST)Tuesday, Oct. 31, 2017.

Arizona Conservationists to be Honored at 2017 Outdoor Hall of Fame Banquet

Source:  Arizona Game and Fish Press Release, July 25, 2017

The Wildlife for Tomorrow Foundation, together with the Arizona Game and Fish Department, will induct five individuals into the Arizona Outdoor Hall of Fame. Wildlife for Tomorrow was created in 1990 to enhance the management, protection and enjoyment of Arizona’s fish and wildlife resources. The foundation is an independent 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization that works closely with the Arizona Game and Fish Department to provide additional support for projects and education activities where traditional resources are not adequate.

The Arizona Outdoor Hall of Fame was developed in 1998 by the Wildlife for Tomorrow Foundation to honor those who have made significant contributions to Arizona’s wildlife, the welfare of its natural resources and the state’s outdoor heritage. The Foundation’s 20th Annual Hall of Fame induction ceremony will take place during the annual Arizona Outdoor Hall of Fame Banquet on Saturday, Aug. 19, at the Embassy Suites Scottsdale at 5001 N. Scottsdale Road in Scottsdale.

The inductees for this year’s event include:

  • Steve Hirsch, of Phoenix, is being inducted posthumously. Steve was a prominent attorney, avid outdoorsman and the son of Bob Hirsch, a prior Hall of Fame inductee and acclaimed outdoors columnist. Steve’s passion for Arizona and its wildlife led him to serve as a director and the president of the Wildlife for Tomorrow Foundation for more than 16 years. Steve’s leadership and vision provided the driving force for Wildlife for Tomorrow as it worked closely with the department to support projects that benefited the management and enjoyment of Arizona’s fish and wildlife resources, youth educational activities and projects that made a difference to wildlife habitat in our state.
  • Larry Voyles, of Phoenix, has devoted his 43-year career to wildlife conservation and outdoor heritage, including nine years as director of the Arizona Game and Fish Department. He began his career with AZGFD as a wildlife manager and in 2008 was selected as the agency’s director. He worked to modernize the department and unified the 50 states’ conservation agencies to improve wildlife conservation efforts nationwide. He is a national leader in shooting sports, recruitment and retention.
  •  Jean Wilson, of Yuma, who has served Yuma County readers for decades through her outdoors column in the Yuma Sun and has dedicated her life to encouraging families and children to appreciate the outdoors. She regularly runs clinics and classes designed to get people to enjoy fishing, hunting and archery.
  • Steve Clark, of Glendale, who is a founding member of the Arizona Elk Society and has worked tirelessly for the past 17 years to carry the organization and its mission forward. He also serves on the Arizona Livestock Recovery Board and the Arizona Natural Resources Committee, was recognized as Civilian Conservationist of the Year in 2010 by the Western Association of Fish and Wildlife Agencies, and Conservationist of the Year in 2015 by the Arizona Game and Fish Department.
  • Warner Glenn, of Douglas, a fourth-generation Arizona cattle rancher who operates two ranches in Cochise County. In addition to ranching, he operates the hunting guide service established by his father – legendary hunter Marvin Glenn. In 1991, Warner Glenn was among the founders of the Malpai Borderlands Group, a conservation ranching organization that established a system of scientific-based ecosystem management on more than 1 million acres of ranch land in southeastern Arizona and southwestern New Mexico.

Ty Gray Named Director of Arizona Game and Fish Department

Source:  Arizona Game and Fish Department Press Release,  June 12, 2017

The Arizona Game and Fish Commission has appointed Ty Gray as director of the Arizona Game and Fish Department. The appointment came in a unanimous 5-0 vote at the commission’s June 11 meeting. Gray, of Phoenix, has been with Game and Fish for 24 years and is currently the agency’s deputy director. He replaces outgoing Director Larry Voyles, who announced May 12 he would be retiring after a 43-year career with Game and Fish, the past nine as director. Gray will assume the role following a transition period.

“We’re thrilled to hire someone with Ty’s depth of experience and accomplishments,” said Commission Chairman Pat Madden. “He brings extensive experience in wildlife management, planning, budget, and executive-level administration and leadership, as well as the respect of colleagues and the public.”

1497257591321-lfo2lw0hbsn-54ca5c0ffb7d92af931a281183f76bf7Gray began his career with the department as a research biologist in 1993 and worked his way up
through the ranks. He has a unique familiarity and perspective on department issues and operations, having also served as urban fishing program specialist, a regional fish program specialist, human dimensions coordinator, field operations coordinator, fisheries branch chief, education branch chief, assistant director (Information/Education/Recreation Division), and deputy director, a position he has held since March 2013.

“This is truly a great honor,” said Gray. “The Arizona Game and Fish Department is recognized as one of the world’s leading wildlife management agencies, and I look forward to continuing our tradition of innovation and dedication to meet the conservation challenges and opportunities of the future.”

Gray will lead an agency that employs more than 600 people and is funded at more than $120 million per year, primarily from the sale of hunting and fishing licenses, a federal excise tax on hunting and fishing gear, and several other sources such as the Heritage Fund (lottery proceeds), Wildlife Conservation Fund (tribal gaming revenue), watercraft licensing, OHV decals, and state wildlife grants. The agency does not receive Arizona general fund tax dollars.

“I have the utmost confidence in Ty and his ability to lead the agency into the future,” said outgoing Director Voyles. “I commend the commission for the fair and thorough process they used in interviewing, vetting, and making the challenging decision of selecting a new director from among four candidates of the highest caliber, each of whom has been a tremendous asset to this agency and to the people of Arizona.

“I congratulate Ty on being selected director of the Arizona Game and Fish Department,” said Governor Doug Ducey. “We look forward to working closely with Director Gray to ensure the health, abundance and variety of Arizona’s wildlife.”

Gray holds a Bachelor of Science in Fisheries and Wildlife Resource Management from the University of Nebraska.

The Arizona Game and Fish Department director is appointed by the Arizona Game and Fish Commission, a five-member citizen board that sets policy and has broad oversight of the department. The director serves as the department’s chief administrative officer and is responsible for the general supervision and control of all activities, functions and employees of the department.