By: Joanne M. Haas/DNR Bureau of Law Enforcement
A 17-year veteran of the Wis. Department of Natural Resources Bureau of Law Enforcement was honored Saturday night as the state's conservation warden of the year by a Milwaukee family whose World War I patriarch initiated the prestigious annual award to recognize efficient and outstanding public service.
The 2017 winner of the Haskell Noyes Conservation Warden Efficiency Award is Edward McCann of the Mississippi River Warden Team, based in La Crosse. The annual award is a tradition the Noyes family has maintained for 88 years with the first award presented to Ernie Swift in 1930.
McCann, flanked by his family, told the audience he was honored. However, he was quick to add the real recognition goes to the wardens, friends, family and coworkers who have helped him along his career path.
"So many excellent wardens influenced me and my career. This award illustrates that their true legacy lives on in the success of others," McCann said. "I would not have been successful, or happy, without excellent supervisors who valued by candidness, innovation and challenging the status quo while giving me the freedom and confidence to do my job."
Lt. Tyler Strelow, McCann's supervisor, says the warden's last name has become a bit of a household name for the warden service across Wisconsin because of his statewide involvement.
"To work with and supervise Ed is truly pleasure, an honor, and often an adventure," Strelow said. "Ed's character can be described as someone of faithful and able service."
Strelow says McCann's 'think outside the box' attitude and ability to readily adapt to change is why the warden's well-balanced program reflects a dedication to continuous improvement. And that constant improvement, Strelow says, reflects McCann's active seeking of feedback and help from others.
That attitude was echoed by Wardens Meghan Jensen and Trevor Tracey, who as new wardens served with McCann as part of their training.
"Ed continuously holds himself to the highest of standards and admits his errors and deficiencies," Wardens Meghan Jensen and Trevor Tracey wrote in their nomination paper. "One of Ed's most impressive qualities is his dedication to helping develop skills of wardens all across the state, and beyond."
Named after a prominent businessman and World War I officer, Noyes was a pioneer Wisconsin conservationist who created the warden award to give credit for faithful and able service. The award includes a gold pocket watch with an inscription stating the watch is a Conservation Warden Efficiency Award for "Faithful and Able Service" to the state.
Warden Ed has done more in his 17 years of service as a conservation warden than many wardens will do in their entire career, Jensen and Tracey said, adding the only word for his investigations is 'brilliant.'
"From his first station in Fond du Lac, to serving in the WDNR Bureau of Law Enforcement's Investigative Unit, to his current station in La Crosse, everywhere Ed has served he has made a significant impact, aiding to his team's performance and contribution to state-wide success," they wrote in their nomination of McCann.
McCann also has dedicated hours to community wardening, public relations with all sorts of organizations and staying on top of law changes.
"Ed is a visionary who is very intentional in his actions to ensure his role as a conservation warden will have the greatest impact on fulfilling the mission of the DNR and protecting our state's natural resources while gaining voluntary compliance and using the most appropriate enforcement action," the two wardens said. "Ed's career is highlighted by his continued success and as young wardens we look up to Ed as a mentor, as a leader, and as somebody we can trust to help us build our own successful careers."
(To learn more about the Noyes Family and the award, read this Warden Wire story: https://dnr.wi.gov/topic/WardenWire/WardenWire_Lookup.asp?id=447)
If you have information regarding natural resource violations, you may confidentially report by calling or texting: VIOLATION HOTLINE: 1-800-TIP-WDNR or 1-800-847-9367. The hotline is in operation 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. Trained staff relay report information to conservation wardens.