Gene Chague | Berkshire Woods and Waters: 2019 BCLS winners announced

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At a recent meeting of the Berkshire County League of Sportsmen (BCLS) five area outdoor sportspeople/conservationists were selected to receive awards at the BCLKS Silvio O. Conte Memorial Awards Dinner. The banquet will be at the Cheshire Rod and Gun Club on Saturday , April 25. The social hour begins at 4:30 p.m. with dinner at 6. Tickets, which cost $35, can be obtained from any BCLS delegate.

Here are the winners, and a brief bit about why they each won.

The late Chris Puntin, of Pittsfield, will receive the Sportsman of the Year Award posthumously. Unfortunately, Puntin lost his life in a hunting accident last year while helping out at the Youth Turkey Hunt. He was an avid hunter and fisherman. He was the local chairman of the National Wild Turkey Federation and served on its state board. For many years he was a mentor for the youth turkey hunts and was a key organizer at the NWTF fundraisers. He helped in trout stockings and was a member of the Snow Seekers (tending snowmobile trails on October Mountain). He helped on the "Buddy Walks" by driving the tractor for the hayrides in Dalton and he volunteered as the event's "grill person."

To quote words from Andrew Madden, state Division of Fisheries and Wildlife Western District Supervisor: "Chris was well known to us. He was very active with the NWTF, a Paraplegic Deer Hunt volunteer for MassWildlife, and a good friend to the Agency and the District."

Meredyth Babcock, of Becket, will receive the Outstanding Achievement Award. Babcock is the Volunteer and Projects Coordinator for the Wild and Scenic Westfield River Committee. As coordinator, she partners with communities, municipal officials, conservation organizations and federal and state agencies to manage the Westfield River and maintain the health of the entire watershed for nearby and downstream communities. She is also helping out with the Highlands Foot Passage and is slowly working toward improving the East Branch Trail.

The W&S Committee engages layers of community members by targeting outreach efforts, messages and activities through a combination of mailings, outreach materials, workshops, hikes, public programs, and Stream Team trainings. The goal of these efforts is to provide effective tools and share expertise to encourage long-term protection, restoration and conservation of the river and its resources.

Stephanie Dupont, of Pittsfield, will receive the Sportsmen's Appreciation Award. Dupont moved to the Berkshires with her husband Eric and three children in the fall of 2014 and joined the Lee Sportsmen's Association in 2015. Since joining LSA, Stephanie and Eric have made sure that their children have been active members of the Air2Spare Jr. air pistol team as well as the youth shotgun and archery programs. They have also participated in the LSA's fishing derbies, clean-up days, fund raisers and hunts. Stephanie has become a vital part of the day-to-day operations of the club as a board member, member of the fundraising committee, a member of the youth programs committee and grant writer. She is also in charge of the day to day operations and communications of the club. She is assistant coach of the High Caliber 22 Bullseye Pistol Team, started the Summers Ladies Night Fun Shoot Program, and writes a bi-weekly column for the Berkshire Record. Working with youth in fund raising, she is instrumental in the continued success and growth of the LSA

Donald E. Girard, of Adams, will receive the Lifetime Achievement Award. Girard has been a scoutmaster of Boy Scout Troop #38 in Adams. He has been instrumental in leading the youth in appreciation and preservation of our environment. With the involvement of several assistant leaders, Girard saw the advancement of over 75 youths to Eagle Scout. They attained rank by earning badges for community projects such as reclaiming "Hail to the Sunrise" on the Mohawk Trail, beautifying the Adams Memorial Military Park, Appalachian Trail, and building of a bridge over water hazards, Throughout Don's tenure of leader/instructor, many of the troop's youth gained an appreciation of the great outdoors. The troop planted numerous trees on Pfizer property and Florida Mountain property to enhance and preserve the forest, and planted christmas trees as a sustainable fund-raising project for the troop. The youth of the troop also cleared and maintained many hiking trails including land abutting Windsor Lake in North Adams and Camp Holy Cross in Goshen. He taught gun safety and marksmanship at the Cheshire Rod & Gun Club and at summer camps at Goshen. He also helped out in the Cub Scout fishing derbies.

Gregg Armstrong, of North Adams, will receive the John Zuber Award. Gregg has been a member of the East Mountain Sportsmen's Club for over 50 years and an avid sportsman for over 60 years. He is part of the EMSC youth mentoring program and has been a Mass. Hunter Education Instructor for over 30 years. For over 25 years as a member of the EMSC, he was instrumental in helping them put on the first youth pheasant hunt in the state. When anything that had to do with youth programs, he was always the first to step up. He was a Boy Scout leader, an avid diver and a Navy vet. He also loved being out with his bird dogs.

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Ice fishing derby

The Lanesborough Fire Department is sponsoring an ice fishing derby on Saturday, Jan. 18 on Pontoosuc Lake from 5 a.m. to 2. Registration is behind the park on Narragansett Avenue. There is a $10 entry fee for adults, for kids aged 12 and under are free. There will be raffles, cash prizes and trophies for the winners. Food will be available for purchase.

Marlborough Fly-Fishing Show

The 2020 Fly Fishing Show will take place January 17-19 at the Royal Plaza Trade Center, located 181 Boston Post Road in Marlborough. Hours are 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. on Friday, 9 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. on Saturday and 9 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. on Sunday. Parking is free.

The show promises more fly-casting, tying, manufacturer and retail store displays of the newest rods, reels, lines, boots, waders, clothing and flies during the three-day run.

The show will have about 10 seminars, demonstrations and Destination Theater presentations each hour.

There will be more than $50,000 worth of door prizes.

The admission is $15 for one day, $25 for two days and $35 for three days. Children under age 5 are free, as are Boy and Girl Scouts under age 16 in uniform. Children 6-12 are $5 and active military with IDs are $10. Scouts in uniform can earn credits toward a fly-fishing merit badge.

The New England premiere of the 2020 International Fly-Fishing Film Festival is Friday at 6:30. Tickets are $10 in advance or $15 at the door.

Gene Chague can be reached at or 413-637-1818.


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