CHEYENNE - Nearly 40 years of professional advocacy for Wyoming’s aquatic resources has earned Mike Stone the Colorado-Wyoming Chapter of the American Fisheries Society’s highest honor: the Award of Excellence.
“Mike’s career is a model example for fishery professionals who want to make a difference and leave a lasting legacy,” said Greg Gerlich, Aquatic Section manager for Colorado Parks and Wildlife.
Stone, the Game and Fish Department’s chief of fisheries since July 1996, is a native of Rosiclare, Ill., and a 1967 graduate of Rosiclare High School. He earned a bachelor’s degree in fisheries biology from Colorado State University and a master’s in aquatic ecology from the University of Illinois.
Stone began his Game and Fish career as a summer biologist aide in Jackson. His permanent service started at the Dan Speas Fish Hatchery near Casper as a culturist. He was promoted to a biologist in Cheyenne in 1975 and to ecologicalservices manager in 1985.
His promotion trail continued in 1990 when he was appointed to fisheries management coordinator overseeing aquatic field operations and in January 1996 to assistant Fish Division chief before ascending to Fish Division chief. With University of Wyoming zoology professor George Baxter, he co-authored two cornerstone books of aquatic wildlife in the Cowboy State: Amphibians and Reptiles of Wyoming and Fishes of Wyoming.
“Mike has been a long-standing fisheries chief which is no simple task in today’s hard-to-please political world,” said Gary Whelan, program manager with the Michigan Department of Natural Resources. “His steady leadership has made the Wyoming Game and Fish Department an outstanding place to work for fisheries biologists.”
Stan Allen, senior program manager for the Pacific States Marine Fisheries Commission, echoes similar sentiments. “Mike Stone is recognized as being in the very highest tier of fisheries chiefs in the country,” he said. Stone was lauded by colleagues for leading a long-term plan to upgrade Wyoming’s fish hatchery system and was also honored as the department’s Fish Division Employee of the Year in 1986.
(Contact: Jeff Obrecht (307) 777-4532)