Retired DNR wildlife manager presented with Hamerstrom Award

    Long-time conservationist Terry Wolfe of Crookston was honored at the awards banquet of the 30th Prairie Grouse Technical Council Conference with the Hamerstrom Award. This coveted national award recognizes individuals and organizations for ongoing efforts in prairie grouse conservation. The award is named in honor of famed Wisconsin prairie grouse researchers, Drs. Fred and Francis Hamerstrom.    

    The Prairie Grouse Technical Council Conference was held at the University of Minnesota Crookston Oct. 10-12. The biennial meeting attracted some 70 prairie grouse biologists and enthusiasts from as far as Washington State to the west, Texas to the south, Ohio to the east, and Manitoba to the north.    

    Wolfe has lived in Crookston since 1970 when he moved to Polk County as the area wildlife manager with the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources. He retired in March of 2012 but continues to stay active in conservation.    

    “Terry secured hundreds of acres of wildlife lands in northwestern Minnesota, many of them providing habitat for greater prairie chickens, sharp-tailed grouse, and a host of other wildlife species," said Ross Hier, an assistant to Wolfe for 24 years.   

    Wolfe added thousands of acres to the state’s Wildlife Management Area (WMA) system. Some of these projects were additions to existing Wildlife Management Areas while others were brand new projects.    

    Wolfe is known for doing his work with a quiet, unassuming manner. “But there was great passion behind his blue eyes as he knew that long-term conservation efforts required working with and alongside local people,” Hier said. “Big gains for prairie wildlife never come without first gaining the trust of local people.”   

    Wolfe has used a variety of management tools to keep prairies open and diverse. Prescribed fire was one of his passions but he also introduced cattle grazing to several wildlife management areas years before it became a widespread practice. He worked with numerous other entities like the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and The Nature Conservancy to help secure prairie habitats and educate people about prairies. Brian Winter, regional program director of The Nature Conservancy points out that Wolfe has not only protected land but is a shining example of land management and stewardship. “Terry got results that we can all enjoy and walk around on," Winter said. "He’s been one of the most active grassland managers with the DNR and has left a big boot print in northwest Minnesota."   

    Dan Svedarsky, conference chair and presenter of the award to Wolfe, has enjoyed a long association with Wolfe. “Some 40 years ago, Terry was in on the ground floor of organizing the Minnesota Prairie Chicken Society, which has won the national organizational award from The Wildlife Society and the similar award from the Prairie Grouse Technical Council. He has lectured in numerous wildlife classes and field trips at UMC, assisted with conducting a trapper education class, and mentored many seasonal internships over the years.”    

    Wolfe is also a recipient of The Minnesota Award, the premier award of the Minnesota Chapter of The Wildlife Society.    

    The other individual recipient of the 2013 Hamerstrom Award was Mike Schroeder of the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife.  The Sutton Avian Research Center of Bartlesville, Oklahoma received the organizational award.    

    In addition to primary sponsorship by the University of Minnesota, other conference sponsors included: Crookston Convention and Visitor’s Bureau, Minnesota Prairie Chicken Society, Truax Company, Minnesota Department of Natural Resources, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, and The Nature Conservancy.        

    The next meeting of the Technical Council is scheduled for 2015 in Missouri and will be hosted by the Missouri Department of Conservation.        

    For more information contact Svedarsky at 281-8129 or