AUSTIN— Two Texas game wardens and the Kerr Wildlife Management Area (WMA) were recognized during Thursday’s meeting of the Texas Parks and Wildlife Commission in Austin.
The awards were presented by partners recognizing the recipients, including the Texas State Soil and Water Conservation Board (TSSWCB), the Association of Texas Soil and Water Conservation Districts (ATSWCD), the Texas Game Warden Association, and the Southeastern Association of Fish and Wildlife Agencies (SEAFWA).
Kerr WMA Receives Friend of Conservation Award From Kerr SWCD and Texas State SWCB
The Kerr WMA was recognized Thursday as the recipient of the Friend of Conservation Award at the TPW Commission meeting.
Since the opening of the Kerr WMA, wildlife staff have shared their research and collaborated on several studies and projects with the Kerr County Soil and Water Conservation District (SWCD).
The Kerr WMA develops and manages wildlife habitats, populations of wildlife species, provides research opportunities and public access to hunting. The wildlife management area and Kerr County SWCD have worked together on projects dating back to the mid-1950’s.
The Texas Conservation Awards Program recognizes conservationists and the vital role they play in managing Texas’ natural resources. The purpose of the program is to acknowledge, recognize, and honor individuals that dedicate their time and efforts to the conservation of natural resources.
Categories recognized through the Texas Conservation Awards Program are: Poster Contest and Junior and Senior Essay Contests, Conservation Farmer, Outstanding Soil and Water Conservation District, Conservation Rancher, Friend of Conservation, Conservation Teacher and Wildlife Conservationist.
Game Warden Gene Fernandez Named SEAFWA Officer of the Year
Dimmit County game warden Gene Fernandez was recognized Thursday as the Southeastern Association of Fish and Wildlife Agencies’ (SEAFWA) officer of the year for 2017.
Fernandez has been with the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department for ten years and constantly strives to learn and grow as a leader in his district.
This year alone, Fernandez has filed four hunt without landowner consent cases and completed 90 youth programs reaching a total of 2,000 local kids. He also offered 20 youth hunting opportunities to 36 kids under the age of 17. Additionally, Fernandez has provided 25 game warden recruiting programs in his area.
Fernandez has also taken a leadership role within his district and uses his skills to work with other divisions. During his time in Dimmit County, he has fostered beneficial relationships with wildlife staff and biologists.
As a leader in his community, Fernandez maintains relationships with landowners in his county which helps him enforce conservation law enforcement.
Game Warden Brad Meloni Named Texas Game Warden Association’s Officer of the Year
The Texas Game Warden Association has awarded Kleberg County game warden Brad Meloni as the Game Warden of the Year. Meloni has been a game warden for 21 years spending the first 12 years of the career in the Rio Grande Valley.
Warden Meloni is also a member of the Game Warden Scout Team. The team is made up of 20 or so elite officers who work high-risk operations across the state. While performing these additional volunteer duties, Meloni has been integral in the arrest of numerous dangerous criminals and removed illegal narcotics from the streets.
Meloni volunteered to go to Dallas last year and partner with officers whose coworkers were tragically gunned down during an ambush. For his efforts, Meloni received the Director’s Citation.
In addition to his other duties, Meloni is a member of the Game Warden Honor Guard. As a part of this team, he has traveled with other wardens across the state to attend and present colors at the funerals of fallen wardens.