The Lifetime Conservation Award
Lance Schelvan - 2019
Lance Schelvan dedicated most of his life to working for the conservation of natural resources and protection of our shared environment. Recognizing this, the Missoula Conservation Roundtable awarded Lance their Lifetime Conservation Achievement Award in 2019.
While growing up in Cody, WY Lance’s life took an unexpected turn when at the age of 10 he was diagnosed with Rheumatic Fever, confining him to his bedroom for almost a full year. The forced isolation ignited a longing to be outside and developed into a deep appreciation for the natural world.
Lance attended high school in Osseo, MN and earned English and Fine Arts degrees from the University of Minnesota at Twin Cities. Inclined towards the arts, his profound connection to and great love for nature drives his passion for preserving it, expressed in both practice and in art.
“I have an appreciation for beauty in all its forms,” Schelvan said, “and nature has some of the finest forms.”
A pioneer in conservation magazine publication, Lance designed and edited the first issue of Bugle Magazine for the Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation in 1984 from his basement in Libby, Montana. This also started his career as the first official employee of the RMEF. Wanting to get creative and be creative and stay creative, he left his communication specialist position with the National Forest Service in 1987, turning his full attention to the foundation.
Through his leadership and editorial direction, Bugle has become one of the most popular and widely read conservation magazines in North America. Lance’s vision for the magazine went beyond a hunting magazine, focusing on conservation issues associated with elk and elk country. This set Bugle apart from other outdoor magazines.
During his 15+ years at RMEF, Lance helped focus RMEF on land and wildlife conservation. Through his insightful and informative articles and inspiring photos in Bugle, he increased membership and motivated those members to positive action. Since then, RMEF has participated in more than 11,800 conservation projects that protected or enhanced more than 7.4 million acres of wildlife habitat throughout North America.
Following his retirement from RMEF, Lance continues telling stories through photography and video for conservation organizations like the Montana Natural History Center, Vital Ground, the Thedore Roosevelt Conservation Partnership and Conservation Hawks. Additionally, until 2020, he shared his enthusiasm for conservation with the next generation by teaching photography at Camp-Make-A-Dream.
Lance remains actively engaged in addressing both global and local environmental challenges, ranging from combating climate change to advocating for Friends of Scotchman Peaks Wilderness to prevent construction of a new dam near Libby, MT. Lance feels, and always reminds others, that our primary responsibility is to the land and the wildlife that inhabit it.
Biography by Bonnie Pace