PA Game Commission To Welcome Two New Board Members

PA Game Commission To Welcome Two New Board Members

Pennsylvania Game Commission
Pennsylvania Game Commission

Pennsylvania – -( With its upcoming meeting slated for July 8 and 9, the Pennsylvania Board of Game Commissioners is set to welcome two recently-confirmed members, David J. Putnam, of Centre Hall, Centre County, and Robert W. Schlemmer Sr., of Export, Westmoreland County.

Putnam was nominated by Gov. Edward G. Rendell on March 11, and confirmed by the state Senate on May 5. Schlemmer was nominated by Gov. Rendell on March 11 and confirmed by the Senate on June 16. Putnam filled the vacancy created when Russell Schleiden’s term expired, and Schlemmer filled the vacancy created when Roxane Palone’s term expired.

Putnam, who served as a certified wildlife biologist with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service from 1979 to 2007, presently is a self-employed biologist.

Putnam started his career conducting studies on the Allegheny River basin, as well as on large U.S. Army Corps of Engineers projects, such as the Tioga-Hammond reservoir project and the lock and dam systems on the Monongahela and Ohio rivers.

“For the past 20 years, I was involved in habitat restoration starting with wetlands and native warm-season grasses and stream-bank fencing and later including stream restoration,” Putnam said. “In that role, I worked extensively with the USDA, the Pennsylvania Game Commission, Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection, Ducks Unlimited, Pheasants Forever, County Conservation Districts, and hundreds of private landowners.”

A 1970 graduate of Penn State University with a degree in forest science, Putnam’s graduate training at Penn State had him conducting research with Jerry Wunz, the late Pennsylvania Game Commission biologist who pioneered the trap and transfer of wild turkeys in the state.

“I worked with Jerry on numerous projects and we spent hundreds of hours discussing the philosophy of wildlife management,” Putnam said. “Prior to that, Jerry worked with my father, who graduated with the Fifth Class of the Game Commission’s Ross Leffler School of Conservation and served as a Game Warden, in the days before there were Wildlife Conservation Officers. My father, Jerry and other biologists of that day inspired me to pursue a career in wildlife management.”

Putnam is a member of the Ruffed Grouse Society, Ducks Unlimited, Woodcock Limited of Pennsylvania, Pheasants Forever and the Spring Mills Fish and Game Association. He also is a past president of the Pennsylvania Chapter of the Wildlife Society, and a lifetime member of the Pennsylvania Federation of Sportsmen’s Clubs.

Schlemmer presently serves as founder and CEO of Delmont North Industrial Park, which he created in 1979.

“I plan to work with my fellow Board members and Game Commission staff, as well as elected officials and stakeholders in our Commonwealth’s wildlife resources and hunting and trapping heritage, to build on past successes,” said Schlemmer. “I have traveled to all corners of Pennsylvania and talked with many sportsmen’s clubs and other stakeholders about their thoughts on what direction our hunting and trapping heritage should take. Communication is vital when decisions made by the Board of Game Commissioners will impact the entire Commonwealth, and I stand ready to serve.”

Schlemmer graduated from Clarion University with a bachelor’s degree in biology, earth sciences and geography. He did post-graduate work under the direction of Woods Hole Institute at Solomon’s Island in Chesapeake Bay, which focused on pollution of the bay. Schlemmer also worked with biologists banding birds and studying owls and hawk habitat at Presque Isle State Park.

Schlemmer’s other public serve includes his recent tenure as chairman of the Governor’s Advisory Council for Hunting, Fishing and Conservation. He serves as a Department of Agriculture representative on the CWD Task Force to help prevent chronic wasting disease from entering Pennsylvania and impacting the state’s wild and captive deer and elk.

In addition to serving as volunteer Deputy Wildlife Conservation Office for the Game Commission since 1974, Schlemmer also served as vice-president of the Board of Directors, from 1972-1980, for the International Council for Outdoor Education, which developed hunter safety programs for numerous states and Canadian provinces, including Pennsylvania.

Locally, Schlemmer has worked with Murrysville Parks and Recreation Department to open public areas to archery and muzzleloader hunting, as well as the establishment of a deer/habitat management plan for community parks. He also is a member of the Murrysville Sportsmen’s and Landowners’ Alliance, where he helped to make the Haymaker Creek accessible for handicapped children for fishing. He also serves a volunteer fireman for Holiday Park, and is a member of the United Church of Christ and Masonic Lodge #721.

Schlemmer is a member of a number of sportsmen’s organizations, including the Westmoreland County Sportsmen’s League, the Connellsville Sportsmen’s Club, the Western Clinton County Sportsmen’s Association, the Pitcairn-Monroeville Sportsmen’s Club, the Allegheny County Sportsmen’s League, and the Pennsylvania Federation of Sportsmen’s Club. He is a contributing member to the Wildlife for Everyone Endowment Foundation, the Western Pennsylvania Conservancy, the Ned Smith Center, Ducks Unlimited, Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation, Safari Club International and the National Wild Turkey Federation.

Carl G. Roe, Game Commission executive director, noted that there remains one vacancy on the Board, which was created by the resignation of H. Daniel Hill III, when he was appointed Senior Policy Advisor and Counselor to U.S. Congresswoman Kathy Dahlkemper. On June 3, Gov. Rendell nominated Ralph Anthony Martone, of New Castle, Lawrence County, to this seat, and he is awaiting Senate consideration.

The Pennsylvania Board of Game Commissioners is comprised of eight board members, each selected by the Governor and confirmed by majority vote of the state Senate. Title 34, also known as the Game and Wildlife Code, is the law that governs Board actions, duties and responsibilities. Title 34 requires that each member be a citizen of the Commonwealth, and well informed about wildlife conservation and restoration. Game Commissioners are appointed from various geographical districts of the state to ensure uniform representation for all residents. These districts are not the same as Game Commission agency regions.

Game Commissioners individually hold office for terms of eight years, but may remain seated for an additional six months if no successor is named. Members of the Board receive no compensation for their services, but may be reimbursed for travel expenses.

Game Commissioners function as a board of directors, establishing policy for the agency. They are not agency employees. Although they are selected by district, they represent all Pennsylvanians and the state’s 467 species of wild birds and mammals.

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Mitchell C

Hopefully the 2 new commissioners are better than the 2 environmental extremist nutjobs that just left, and whose seats they are filling.