Wildlife educator earns top Elk Foundation honor
For a lifetime contribution to the wildlife of North America, and endless energy expended educating future conservationists, the Elk Foundation honored Vince Yannone with its highest tribute, the Wallace Fennell Pate Wildlife Conservation Award.
In May 1970, after a near miss with a career in dentistry, Vince Yannone joined the Montana Department of Fish, Wildlife and Parks, where he assumed responsibility for the Information and Education Division’s youth education program.
Over the next 25 years, Vince committed himself to absolutely conserving wildlife, providing rehabilitation for countless injured orphaned wild animals, helping to establish Project WILD as a viable elementary and secondary school curriculum, and traveling extensively, bringing wildlife programs directly to educators, landowners, ranchers and many other audiences.
Since retiring in 1995, Vince has continued to promote wildlife education, working closely with the Elk Foundation’s Wild About Elk and Wild Outdoor World for Kids programs, appearing at teacher workshops and school assemblies across the country and helping craft programs for Animal Planet television and the Discovery Channel. Vince has also been raising funds for a new wildlife rehabilitation facility in Helena, Mont. Where injured and orphaned wildlife will have the opportunity to recover and gain survival skills before returning to their native environment.
On March 1, 1996 the crowd at the Elk Foundation’s 13th Annual International Elk Camp and Exposition in Salt Lake City arose for a standing ovation as Vince accepted his award.
“As long as you folks keep working for wildlife habitat the way you do, I will keep educating people until my dying day,” Yannone said.
Established in 1993, the Wallace Fennell Pate Wildlife Conservation Award is presented to those who, in the estimation of the Foundation’s executive staff and board of directors, have made contributions of lasting significance to the benefit of elk, other wildlife and their habitat across North America.
Wallace Fennell Pate, first Elk Foundation president and chairman of the board, dedicated his time, energy and financial resources to the betterment of wildlife in North America. Because of his lifetime commitment, Pate has become a national role model for what individuals or groups can do to conserve natural resources.