Former Commissioner Wins National Fire Bird Award for Quail Efforts

October 6, 2020

Former Commissioner Wins National Fire Bird Award for Quail Efforts

groendyke fire bird with nameline

Former Wildlife Commissioner John D. Groendyke of Enid was honored Monday with the National Bobwhite Conservation Initiative’s Fire Bird Award for his efforts to promote research and management for Northern bobwhites in Oklahoma.

The award was presented during the regular October meeting of the Oklahoma Wildlife Conservation Commission by Upland Game Biologist Tell Judkins of the Oklahoma Department of Wildlife Conservation.

In accepting the award, Groendyke said, "We finally have got kind of a unified group of Quail Forever, Oklahoma State University and their research, the support of the Texas program ... and the volunteers and the work that has been put in. We've got a lot of research on quail ... and we just have to keep working to see that we can maintain a good population of wild bobwhite quail in Oklahoma."

Also Monday, the Commission recognized the owners of Trepper Farms in Pottawatomie County as the 2020 Landowner Conservationists of the Year.

troy flax w nameline trepper farms

Troy Flax and Pepper Martin of Norman partnered to buy the 320 acres in 2015 and began a commitment to restore, enhance, maintain and create habitats catering to many wildlife species. Projects including pond and dam renovation, prescribed burning, hardwood thinning, cedar clearing, disking and planting food plots.

Sharing the resources and providing opportunities for youths are also a passion for each owner. Although hunting leases are popular today, Trepper Farms is not leased for any recreational activity. Instead, the farm is open to family and friends for hunting, fishing, and other recreational events.

In other business, Commissioners:

  • Learned about reorganization of the Private Lands Section from Wildlife Chief Bill Dinkines and heard about the Private Lands Programs from the new Private Lands Supervisor, Josh Richardson. Private lands biologists span the state to provide technical assistance and resources to landowners who want to employ sound wildlife management practices on their land. Other services in the Private Lands Program include the Oklahoma Land Access Program and private land youth hunts.
  • Heard Director J.D. Strong’s regular report on Department activities, which included recognition for several first-place national awards for the Information and Education Division from the Association for Conservation Information; an update on increased sales of licenses over 2019; and plans to conduct a survey in spring to gauge public preferences about the Department’s Controlled Hunts Program.

To view a video of the meeting, go to The next regular Commission meeting is set for 9 a.m. Nov. 2 at the John D. Groendyke Wildlife Building, 1801 N. Lincoln Blvd. in Oklahoma City.