LAKE OF THE OZARKS, Mo. – The Missouri Department of Conservation (MDC) received three awards at the National Wild Turkey Federation state convention earlier in January at Lake of the Ozarks.
Shannon Ohrenberg: For the second straight year, Greene County Conservation Agent Shannon Ohrenberg is the NWTF’s Missouri Wildlife Officer of the Year. According to NWTF, Ohrenberg is the first person to win the Missouri award in consecutive years. This marks the second year Ohrenberg has recorded a “first” – last year she became the first female to win this award. She will represent MDC’s Protection Division at the NWTF’s National Convention and Sport Show in February at Nashville. Ohrenberg has been with MDC for 20 years, 16 of those as Greene County conservation agent.
Her enforcement duties have represented a diverse case load, but there’s more to Ohrenberg’s commitment to conservation than pursuing those that violate game laws. She was one of several MDC members on the committee that helped bring NWTF’s Wheelin’ Sportsmen events – a national program that introduces people with disabilities to the outdoors – to MDC’s Bois D’Arc Conservation Area in Greene County. She has presented wildlife law enforcement programs to students at Missouri State University, Drury University and Ozarks Technical Community College. She has presented conservation-oriented programs to a number of elementary, junior high, and high schools in Springfield and the surrounding area.
Jason Isabelle: Jason Isabelle received the John Lewis Lifetime Achievement Award. This honor is named after former MDC wildlife biologist John Lewis, who played a major role in Missouri’s turkey restoration efforts in the mid-1900s and is recognized throughout the country for his contributions to wild turkey research and management. The award is presented to the individual who has exhibited dedication to conserving the wild turkey and to providing assistance to NWTF. Isabelle, a native of Vermont, has been with MDC 9 years. He is currently MDC’s cervid program supervisor, but before these duties, he was the agency’s turkey biologist for 8 years. During that time, Isabelle was involved in a five-year study in northern Missouri to better understand the factors affecting turkey numbers in the state and to build population models to more accurately monitor trends in turkey numbers. Jason also served as chairman of the Southeast Wild Turkey Working Group and the NWTF’s Technical Committee where he led an effort to standardize the way state agencies monitor turkey production. Jason also serves as the secretary of the Mid-State Chapter of the NWTF in Columbia.
MDC Protection Division: MDC’s Protection Division received the Save the Hunt Award. The Save the Hunt award is presented to a partner who works with the NWTF to further efforts to provide hunting opportunities and create hunters. Annually, conservation agents throughout the state have delivered turkey, dove, deer, and waterfowl clinics to instruct new hunters in proper gun safety, shooting techniques, and pertinent regulations. Many conservation agents also assist with NWTF JAKES (Juniors Acquiring Knowledge, Ethics and Sportsmanship) events and have served as members on NWTF boards in their communities. Many conservation agents have also served as guides and mentors across the state.