Bernie Lemon joined the Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation

(Sept. 24, 2007) Missoula, Montana — When Bernie Lemon joined the Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation in 1986 he had seen enough of his favorite hunting grounds in Colorado consumed by roads and houses that he was ready to do something about it.

The next year he launched the Elk Foundation’s first Wisconsin chapter in Milwaukee.  That chapter has since raised more than $1 million for the Elk Foundation’s mission – to ensure the future of elk, other wildlife and their habitat. Lemon can take a lot of credit for that accomplishment. He made it happen through grit, charisma, kindness and tenacity.

The man who is perhaps the Elk Foundation’s best-loved volunteer and who can also  take credit for re-establishing elk in their native habitat in Wisconsin, has been named one of four finalists in the Budweiser Conservationist of the Year program. If he wins the $50,000 grand prize, he will dedicate the funds to the state’s elk management program.

“There are no losers among the final four candidates for this award,” Lemon said. “We’re all fortunate to be considered for this honor. But if I’m selected, the real winner will be habitat conservation in Wisconsin.”

Working in the trenches for years as a volunteer for the Elk Foundation, Lemon has risen through the ranks from chapter chair to state chair to regional chair.

Lemon is a selfless, self-effacing leader, who has persuaded hundreds of people to join the 150,000-member Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation over the years.

In addition to Lemon’s leadership role with the Wisconsin elk reintroduction program, he has led fundraising efforts for the Elk Foundation throughout Wisconsin.  But more importantly, he has been a “spiritual leader” for the organization.

Elk once roamed most of Wisconsin, but they were gone by 1868.  In 1913, elk from Yellowstone National Park were released into an enclosure near Trout Lake.  Despite a second release in 1917 to boost the herd, the attempt to restore elk to the state failed.  In 1995, the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources released 25 elk from Michigan into the Chequamegon National Forest.  Today, about 115 elk roam Wisconsin.

The state of Wisconsin remains committed to elk restoration, but relies heavily on support from the Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation. With more than $800,000 in Elk Foundation funds and the state’s Elk Foundation volunteers invested in Wisconsin elk, the foundation is determined to make the elk restoration program successful.  Bernie Lemon is the heart and soul and leader behind that determination.

2008 Budweiser Conservationist of the Year

The winner will receive a $50,000 grant for on-the-ground conservation. Give 41 cents for a stamp or half a minute online and you can help get $50,000 for wild elk.

Step up for Elk Country. Vote for Bernie!

Two Ways to Vote:
1) Go online to www.budweiser.com
2) Vote by mail. Print your name, address, age and the name of the candidate you’ve selected. Send to:
2008 Budweiser Conservationist of the Year
P.O. Box 750311
El Paso, TX 88575-0311

Last Day to Vote is November 30!

Limit one vote per person. Must be U.S. resident, 21 years or older.

About the Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation

Founded in 1984 and headquartered in Missoula, Montana, the Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation is a non-profit organization dedicated to ensuring the future of elk, other wildlife and their habitat. The Elk Foundation and its partners have permanently protected or enhanced more than 5 million acres of habitat – an area more than twice the size of Yellowstone National Park. More than 500,000 acres previously closed to public are now open for hunting, fishing and other recreation as a result of the Elk Foundation’s work. The Elk Foundation has more than 150,000 members, a staff of 150 and 10,000 active volunteers. To help protect wild elk country or learn more about the Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation, visit www.elkfoundation.org or call 800-CALL-ELK