LARAMIE - Serving in a variety of leadership roles with The Wildlife Society (TWS) and a long, distinguished career as a wildlife biologist with the Wyoming Game and Fish Department are among the commendations that have earned Bob Lanka the 2011 Jim McDonough Award from the TWS.
"Bob's career has been characterized as one of great personal sacrifice and accomplishment," said Tom Ryder, past TWS international president. "Bob helped research and write a major report that helped quell a game ranching campaign in the early '90s and ultimately resulted in one of the strictest state regulations pertaining to public ownership of wildlife in the United States."
Lanka began his Game and Fish career as a biologist aide in Green River. His first permanent position was a wildlife biologist aide in Cheyenne. He was promoted to an environmental biologist in Lander in July 1987, transferred to Newcastle as a wildlife biologist in July 1988 - where he dealt with the game ranching campaign - and transferred back to Lander in October 1992. He was promoted to wildlife management coordinator in Laramie in November 1995, to regional information and education supervisor in April 2007, and to supervisor of Biological Services in July 2010.
"Bob's character and expertise is reflected in the promotions he's received and challenges he's tackled at the (Wyoming) Game and Fish Department," said Ryder, the department's Wildlife Division assistant chief. "In his current position, he is responsible for statewide programs for endangered and threatened species, which places him in the cross-hairs of energy development, social controversy, and wildlife conservation."
Lanka, 56, is a Worthington, Ohio, native. He earned an associate's degree in wildlife management from Fullerton Junior College in Fullerton, Calif., and bachelor's degrees in both range and wildlife management from Humboldt State University in Arcata, Calif. In 1985, he completed his master's degree at the University of Wyoming researching mountain stream trout habitat.
In addition to serving as the liaison to the UW Student Chapter of TWS from 1998-2010, Lanka served as the Wyoming Chapter president in 1996, Program Committee chairman in 1995, and Central Mountains and Plains Section President from 2008-2010. Lanka also served as Wyoming's Technical Committee representative to the National Wild Turkey Federation from 2002-2009.
In 1990 he was named the Game and Fish's "Wildlife Division Employee of the Year" and was honored as the "Wildlife Professional of the Year" for the TWS Wyoming Chapter in 1991.
The Jim McDonough award was established in 1988 in honor of the management and TWS contributions from the Massachusetts biologist. Ryder received the award in 2000.
(Contact: Jeff Obrecht (307) 777-4532)