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Honoring IFW Employees

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12MEHD-Honoring-IFW-Jack-McPhee.jpgJack McPhee, one of Maine’s most renowned bush pilots, spent his entire life in the North Maine Woods where he raised his family, patrolled the woods and waters from for the Maine Warden Service (1965-1985), and operated as a registered Maine Guide. When he retired from the Maine Warden Service, he opened sporting camps on Spider, Haymock, and Cliff lakes and flew for MDIFW’s Fisheries and Wildlife Divisions to survey and monitor Maine’s fish and wildlife. Jack’s skill as a pilot and knowledge and keen interest in the wildlife and wild places of northern Maine was a tremendous asset to the Department’s programs. His extensive training by the U.S. Army Aviation Division and his hours operating small aircraft for the Maine Warden Service led him to be one of the most accomplished wildlife telemetry pilots. Telemetry pilots operate small planes equipped with antennas and receivers to track the movements of radio-collared wildlife. Jack’s observations from his Piper Cub provided the highest quality of information that have informed and shaped our management of Maine’s wildlife. On May 4, 2003, while locating radio-collared lynx in northern Maine, Jack’s plane crashed when he attempted to land his aircraft on the Realty Road. We will never fully understand what happened that day, but we will always be in his debt.

12MEHD-Honoring-IFW-Eric-York.jpgEric York, a graduate of the University of Maine and the University of Massachusetts was raised in western Massachusetts and grew up hunting and fishing in northern Maine. While at the University of Maine, he gained field experience as a wildlife biologist on MDIFW’s and the University of Maine’s pine marten study, where he worked with Jack McPhee. Eric’s ability as a field researcher was evident early on in his career and he was offered an opportunity to research fisher at the University of Massachusetts, where he received a masters of science degree in wildlife conservation. During 2000 and 2002, Jack and Eric’s paths crossed once more when Eric returned to Maine to help MDIFW initiate a study of Canada lynx. Eric’s knowledge and skill as a biologist was instrumental in the development and success of this project. Over the years, Eric helped establish wildlife research projects in the western U.S., South America, Nepal, and Pakistan and worked with over 23 species of carnivores. Eric’s vast field experience, knowledge, and skill studying carnivores, most notably wild cats, eventually led him to the Grand Canyon where he assisted the National Park Service’s study of mountain lions. On November 2, 2007, Eric died after contracting pneumonic plague from an infected mountain lion. Eric’s easy going nature, skill as a field researcher, and willingness to share his knowledge led to the successful initiation of conservation efforts around the world.

12MEHD-Honoring-IFW-Daryl-Gordon.jpgDaryl Gordon, one of three Game Warden pilots for the Maine Department of Inland Fisheries and Wildlife, covered northern Maine air patrol from 2004 to 2011. In addition to his law enforcement duties, Daryl assisted the Fisheries and Wildlife Division’s monitoring efforts including tracking radiocollared lynx and black bears. Although new to telemetry, Daryl developed the skill quickly. Daryl took great pride in being a Maine Game Warden and Warden Service Pilot, was always quick to lend a hand, and provided skilled and competent air support to wardens, biologists, and the people of Maine. On March, 2011, after assisting another game warden, Daryl Gordon’s plane crashed on Clear Lake. His professionalism and service to the Department, our wildlife resources and Maine is a model for all those that protect our natural resources.

Jack, Eric, and Daryl’s love for the outdoors were marked by extraordinary careers that have shaped wildlife conservation efforts in Maine. To honor their commitments, scholarships funds have been established by the Presque Isle Fish and Game Club, The Maine Chapter of the Wildlife Society, and MDIFW. To learn how you can help the Jack McPhee Scholarship Fund send children to the Maine Conservation School in Princeton or Bryant Pond each summer, visit http://www.pifg.org/jackmcphee.html. To support the Eric York Scholarship Fund for students pursuing a career in the field of wildlife conservation and management at the University of Maine visit http://www.umainefoundation.org/cashgifts.html.

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