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Chatt named Wildlife Officer of the Year

JAY Retired Environmental Conservation Officer Robert C. Chatt has been named the 2007 Wildlife Conservation Officer of the Year by the Shikar-Safari Club International. Chatt, a resident of Jay, was recognized for his dedication and contributions to wildlife conservation during his 25 year career as a sworn police officer for the state Department of Environmental Conservations Division of Law Enforcement. Shikar-Safari Club International, a worldwide conservation organization, recognizes one Environmental Conservation Officer each year in all 50 states and 10 Canadian provinces, acknowledging the important part they play in local, national, and international wildlife conservation. A representative from the organization presented Chatt with his award on July 2, 2008. Chatt began his career with DEC in 1976 as an interior caretaker at Marcy Dam in the Adirondack High Peaks Wilderness. He spent two years in the Adirondack Ridge Runner program, which evolved into the Assistant Forest Ranger program. As member of DECs trail crew, he helped build ski trails that were used in the 1980 Winter Olympics in Lake Placid. In 1981, Chatt became an Environmental Conservation Officer, a position that he proudly held until his retirement in 2007. During his ECO career, Chatt conducted many foot and canoe patrols in the High Peaks, Sentinel Range, MacKenzie, Dix Mountain, and Giant Mountain Wilderness Areas and the St. Regis Canoe Area, where he enforced Environmental Conservation Law and hunting, fishing, and trapping regulations. Chatt was involved in many arrests of deer poachers. Several of these arrests led to additional prosecutions for Penal Law and federal firearms offenses, and resulted in prison time for the offenders. On one occasion, Chatt assisted the State Police in tracking down a Lake Placid bank robber who fled on foot into the woods. Bob also made arrests for the unlawful taking of wild turkeys at a time when turkeys were just becoming established in his sector. Chatt also responded to the 2001 World Trade Center disaster, the 1998 North Country Ice Storm, and numerous flooding incidents which involved evacuations due to ice jams. He assisted with many search and rescue incidents, including a night rescue of a lost hunter in 10-below-zero temperatures. Bobs hobbies include hunting, fishing, camping, hiking, paddling and cross-country skiing.

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