Elena Larsen Wins 2022 Wayne E. Kirch Conservation Award

Reno, NV– Dedication and commitment to conserving Nevada’s wildlife will be honored during the August Nevada Board of Wildlife Commissioners’ meeting in Elko where Elena Larsen will receive the Commission’s 2022 Wayne E. Kirch Conservation Award. The board gives the award annually to recipients who have demonstrated significant results towards conservation, management, or enhancement of wildlife during the award year.

Larsen is a Reno native and University of Nevada Reno Alum. She currently serves as the Vice President of the Rosewood Nature Study Area for Truckee Meadows Parks Foundation (TMPF). The Rosewood Nature Study Area was previously the Rosewood Lakes Golf Course and was taken over by TMPF in 2019. Larsen has been tasked with restoring the area to a functioning wetland, and she has made great strides in this endeavor.

In 2022, Larsen led a team of 14 Americorps restoration technicians to continue the restoration efforts in the 219-acre Nature Study Area. Larsen worked with her team to conduct bird, bat, and amphibian surveys within the Study Area as well as numerous volunteer projects to get the community involved in habitat restoration. In addition to restoration work in 2022, Larsen conducted multiple public outreach events including a multi-day fishing derby, guided hikes, presentations to local HOAs, and presented at the National Outdoor Recreation Conference on her work at Rosewood.

Larsen worked tirelessly in 2022 and her efforts did not go unnoticed. The hours invested into her work led to 1500 native plants and grasses planted, over 25,000 hours of volunteer work, securing over $1 million in funding for wildlife habitat restoration and education to name a few. Her commitment to Nevada’s wildlife and their habitat is undeniable.

The Commission’s Kirch Award judging panel chooses a winner from a pool of nominations sent in from around the state. The judging panel is made up of two wildlife commissioners; Marlene Kirch, daughter of former Commissioner Wayne E. Kirch; the Department of Wildlife staff assigned to the Kirch Award Committee; and four County Advisory Board to Manage Wildlife members or members of outdoor groups.

The award is named in memory of Wayne E. Kirch who held the longest tenure, 25 years, as a commissioner on the Fish and Game Commission. Kirch passed away in 1989, but his legacy is honored through this annual award.

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