The Don Aldrich Award
Bert Lindler - 2009
Bert Lindler is the North Hills Elk, Bear and Weed Volunteer (self appointed).
Bert can see wintering elk from his home in Grant Creek. In 2005, he organized meetings of landowners, homeowners, conservation nonprofits, and natural resource managers to consider how best to improve management of the large and expanding elk herd that wintered on the National Wildlife Federation’s conservation lands in Grant Creek, adjoining national forest lands, and nearby ranches.
Afterward, Bert became volunteer caretaker for the 750 acres of NWF conservation lands in Grant Creek. With the help of other volunteers and conservation nonprofits, he removed miles of unneeded barbed wire fences and modified the remaining fences so they were easier for wildlife to get over or under. He wrote numerous grants for funds to manage weeds that threatened to choke out the native bunchgrasses that poked through the winter’s snow where they fed the elk. He released biocontrol insects that fed on the weeds’ stems, flowers, or roots, weakening them. And he monitored the results, often favorable, sometimes not so much.
He has served as board president of the Shining Mountains Chapter of Montana Wild, of the Great Burn Conservation Alliance, the Grant Creek Trails Association, and the Montana Outdoor Hall of Fame.
He has served as a board member of the Bear Smart Missoula Working Group, Missoula’s Open Space Advisory and Conservation Lands Advisory Committees, the Prospect Meadows Homeowners Association and the Grant Creek-North Reserve Neighborhood Council.
In Mineral County to the west, Bert has served on the board of Mineral County Rail Trails and as a member of the Mineral County Resource Coalition and the Mineral County Resource Advisory Committee.
Special thanks to the landowners, conservation nonprofits, and businesses who have helped Bert conserve lands in the North Hills: Boehmler Family; Indreland Family; Sherry Family; Backcountry Hunters and Anglers; Citizens for a Weed Free Future; Five Valleys Land Trust; Grant Creek Trails Association; Hellgate Hunters and Anglers; Missoula Conservation District; Missoula County Weed District; Missoula Parks and Recreation Department; Montana Conservation Corps; Montana Fish, Wildlife and Parks; National Wildlife Federation; Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation; Montana Chapter of the Sierra Club; and onXmaps.
Before becoming a conservation volunteer, Bert was a reporter for the Stars and Stripes newspaper in Darmstadt, Germany, an outdoor and environmental writer for the Great Falls Tribune, and a technical editor for the U.S. Forest Service. He has bachelor’s degrees in philosophy (College of William and Mary) and computer science (University of Montana) and a master’s degree in science writing (University of Missouri). He spent a year at Harvard as a Nieman Fellow.
By Bert Lindler