Wild Sheep Foundation Announces Recipient of Life Membership Fund Scholarship

June 20, 2017
posted in: News

Bozeman, Montana – June 20, 2017. After a two-committee selection process, Ms. Kelli Poole of Bozeman was recently selected as the recipient of the Wild Sheep Foundation’s (WSF) FY 2016-17 Life Membership Fund Scholarship, and will receive a grant for $5,000 to help pay for tuition, books, and school expenses at Montana State University. 
The WSF Life Membership Fund Scholarship was designed to be awarded to a student in a field related to the Wild Sheep Foundation’s mission and purpose. Specifically, students pursuing degrees in wildlife management, wildlife biology, and wildlife pathology are preferred; a focus on wild sheep is preferred, but not necessary.
As part of Ms. Poole’s scholarship requirements, she will travel to WSF’s 2018 national convention, the Sheep Show® in Reno, Nevada, to give a talk at the Life Member Breakfast. While in Reno, Kelli will also assist with the Youth Wildlife Conservation Experience, the youth educational component of the Sheep Show®, working closely with Dr. Ryan Brock, WSF’s Youth Education Coordinator.
Ms. Poole is currently a senior at Montana State University, working towards a Bachelor’s degree in wildlife management. Kelli has worked for the states of Colorado and Montana as a wildlife technician, working on bighorn sheep lamb production and recruitment projects, as well as assisting with bighorn sheep capture, collaring, and transplants. In addition, Kelli has worked on black bear population studies, mule deer migration projects, sharp-tailed grouse capture and relocation assignments, as well as many backcountry ungulate surveys.
Kelli plans to pursue a Master’s degree upon completion of her undergraduate work, hopefully on a bighorn sheep research project. One day, Kelli hopes to work as a terrestrial biologist working for a state wildlife management agency.
Ironically, Ms. Poole received notification of this WSF scholarship while climbing a mountain, looking for bighorn sheep, as part of her summer project. Previously, Kelli received the WSF Kevin Hurley Wild Sheep Biology scholarship, a $2,400 award, named after WSF’s Senior Conservation Director and one of Kelli’s bighorn sheep mentors. “In my professional and personal opinion, Kelli Poole’s passion for bighorn sheep and her drive to excel bodes well for her promising career as a wild sheep biologist,” said Hurley. “WSF recognizes the need to help train the next generation of wild sheep, mountain goat, and mountain ungulate management biologists, and we view Kelli Poole as an outstanding recipient for this scholarship,” added Hurley.
Once notified of this scholarship, Ms. Poole stated she was “honored and very blessed to have been selected for this award.” Further, Ms. Poole believes “working with the Wild Sheep Foundation has been, and will continue to be a great way for me to immerse myself in the culture and passion of those who love these species as much as I do. I recognize the importance in the wildlife profession of making connections and building strong relationships with conservationists and other wildlife professionals. Being involved with the Wild Sheep Foundation will help me to continue to make these connections,” stated Ms. Poole.
According to WSF President and CEO Gray N. Thornton, “WSF knows that to meet our purpose of putting and keeping wild sheep on the mountain, we need to help foster and train future wild sheep managers; Kelli Poole is an outstanding choice, and we look for great things from her in future years.”
The Wild Sheep Foundation, formerly the Foundation for North American Wild Sheep (FNAWS,) was founded in 1977 by wild sheep conservationists and enthusiasts. WSF’s Mission is to enhance wild sheep populations, promote scientific wildlife management, and educate the public and youth on sustainable use and the conservation benefits of hunting while promoting the interests of the hunter. With a membership of more than 6,700 worldwide and a Chapter and Affiliate network in North America and Europe, WSF is the premier advocate for wild sheep, other mountain wildlife, their habitat, and their conservation. Since forming in 1977, the Wild Sheep Foundation and its chapters and affiliates have raised and expended more than $110 million on conservation, education and conservation advocacy programs in North America, Europe and Asia towards its Purpose to “Put and Keep Wild Sheep On the Mountain.”® These and other efforts have resulted in a three-fold increase in bighorn sheep populations in North America from their historic 1950-60s lows of ~25,000 to ~85,000 today. WSF, our Chapters and Affiliates and agencies partners are also working together to ensure thinhorn sheep thrive in their northern mountain realms for generations to enjoy.

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