By Michael Howell
Stevensville resident James Rokosch was one of four people honored at the Missoula Conservation Roundtable’s award ceremony held last Thursday in Missoula. The Conservation Roundtable honors two or three people every year for outstanding conservation achievements either in their professional careers or as citizen volunteers and has occasionally given a Lifetime Achievement Award.
This year Rokosch received the Burk-Brandborg Award, sponsored by Stoneydale Press and the Brandborg family. The award is given to a person who has made some outstanding effort at addressing a significant environmental problem in the past year. Rokosch received the award for his “stalwart volunteer work in the uphill battle against the huge Legacy Ranch proposed subdivision adjacent to the Lee Metcalf Wildlife Management Area in the Lone Rock community near Stevensville,” according to Conservation Roundtable member Tim Aldrich.
The Arnold Bolle Award went to Chris Brick for her “long term consistent and excellent work” restoring the Clark Fork River through her job as Science Director for the Clark Fork Coalition.
The Don Aldrich Award went to Jim Brown for his “long-time quiet yet influential volunteer work” on behalf of land protection in his work with Audubon Society and the Five Valleys Land Trust.
This year the recipient of the Lifetime Conservation Achievement Award was Smoke Elser, who with the continuing support of his wife Thelma, operated a successful outfitting business for over 50 years in the Bob Marshall Wilderness, greatly influencing agencies and thousands of citizens from around the world to help assure management of wilderness was consistent with the intent of the Wilderness Act of 1964. Smoke starred in the PBS Production, “Three Miles an Hour,” aimed at preserving wild lands and introducing thousands of viewers to its values and the virtues of taking life at 3 miles an hour, the speed of a good trail horse.