Steamboat Springs A local wildlife officer known for being a leader in land management issues and relationship building has been named Colorado Parks and Wildlife’s Officer of the Year.
Libbie Miller is the district wildlife manager in the Yampa District and started working for the agency formerly known as the Colorado Division of Wildlife in 1997. She was assigned to the south Steamboat district before transferring to Yampa in 2004. Miller was presented with the award last month.
"It's pretty humbling," Miller said at the Steamboat office Thursday. “I think that most of us are just doing this job because we are passionate about what we do, and we love wildlife resources, and it's always an honor to be recognized for the hard work that you put in over the years.”
According to a news release, the award is given annually to a wildlife officer in each of the 50 states, 10 Canadian provinces and both of the countries’ territories. The award is sponsored by the Shikar-Safari Club International, a group formed by hunters in the 1950s to exchange information and ideas about hunting and wildlife conservation.
"Libbie is the consummate professional in all aspects of the district wildlife manager position," Area Wildlife Manager Jim Haskins said in the release. "In addition to the wide variety of duties she routinely handles, Libbie has consistently helped establish positive working relationships between Parks and Wildlife and our local community. She is also considered to be a groundbreaker in land management issues in Routt County."
Stagecoach State Park Senior Ranger Kathleen Fischer is one of Miller’s peers who recognizes her understanding as both a wildlife officer and biologist.
“In the field, on joint patrols and ride-alongs, we have observed Libbie to have inexhaustible knowledge of the job and her district," Fischer said. "She has a customer-service oriented philosophy, outstanding officer presence and a highly personable, calming demeanor in uncomfortable law enforcement situations."
Every year, Miller can be found with her binoculars during the annual bald eagle count, where wildlife officers drive across the county to gauge the health of the population.
She also finds time to educate local youths about wildlife at events such as the Yampa Valley Science School. In 2000, she was recognized as the Educator of the Year by the Steamboat community. Miller also has acted as a mentor to several students who were interested in a wildlife-related career.
According to the Colorado Parks and Wildlife, Miller always has looked for opportunities to work with private landowners interested in conserving their lands.
"Wildlife need habitat," Miller said. "Some of the best habitat in Routt County is in private ownership. I appreciate the good things our local ranchers have done for wildlife on their property and am always willing to help those that are interested in researching alternatives that will allow the conservation of their land."
To reach Matt Stensland, call 970-871-4247, email mstensland@SteamboatToday.com or follow him on Twitter @SBTStensland