Michael Sibole presented Sharp Spur Award by West Virginia Chapter of the National Wild Turkey Federation

Mark Clarke Named Wildlife Manager of the Year

Updated 4 years ago
Mark Clarke Named Wildlife Manager of the Year

FLATWOODS, W.Va. - Mark Clarke, wildlife manager on the Elk River Wildlife Management Area (WMA) in Braxton County, recently was selected by the West Virginia State Chapter of the National Wild Turkey Federation (NWTF) as their 2014 Wildlife Manager of the Year. He was presented the NWTF’s “Making Tracks Award” at their annual awards banquet Jan. 10, 2015, by Chapter President Scott Wilson.

            At the same event, Natural Resources Police Cpl. Michael Sibole of the DNR Law Enforcement Section was presented the Sharp Spur Award in recognition of his dedication to protecting the wildlife resources of West Virginia. Sibole is stationed in Berkeley County in Division of Natural Resources District 2.


Mark Clarke

            Clarke began his career with the Division of Natural Resources in May 1989 on the Elk River WMA. He was involved in the wild turkey trapping and relocation program that established birds throughout Braxton and Clay counties. Clarke also played an active role in West Virginia’s wild turkey population dynamics study that was completed in the mid-1990s. This study helped to formulate an understanding of wild turkey biology, including survival and mortality factors. Findings from this research greatly enhanced DNR’s ability to manage this important resource.

            Clarke continues to work with various organizations and community groups to teach youngsters about wildlife conservation. He has been an outstanding contributor to outdoor education programs in public schools, 4-H programs and the annual Envirothon in Braxton County. He has worked with Boy Scout programs, church camps, Arbor Day activities and summer programs at the local library. Clarke prepared grant proposals to purchase wildlife books and other educational material for schools in Braxton County. Weyerhaeuser and local Rotary clubs provided funding for these projects and purchased wildlife books for six elementary school libraries in Braxton County.

            Clarke has been active in implementing forest management practices on Elk River WMA. He has established important young forest habitat on the area by harvesting timber in a sound and sustainable fashion. Several wildlife clearings have been incorporated into these timber sales that provide outstanding habitat for wild turkey broods and other wildlife.


Cpl. Mark Sibole

            Cpl. Mark Sibole made two turkey poaching arrests in 2014 following detailed investigations and was part of several turkey decoy operations. He also was assigned as the lead officer during a negligent shooting investigation, documenting the shooting scene with sketches, photos and statements. This resulted in a guilty plea from the accused shooter.

            As part of his community outreach duties, he attends the Berkeley County Youth Fair, gives safety talks to hunting organizations, and teaches hunter and boater education. Cpl. Sibole also works closely with other members of the DNR Law Enforcement Section and the Wildlife Resources Section responding to nuisance animal complaints, as well as performing law enforcement duties coordinating with other agencies. His job knowledge has resulted in his assignment as a field training officer, earning him the respect of other members of his department and the community

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