Protecting our fish & wildlife heritage

Amazing member Brent Lonner: wildlife biologist

 Wildlife biologist Brent Lonner looks through a gunstock-mounted spotting scope during a spring bighorn sheep survey.
Brent Lonner is an area wildlife biologist for the Montana Department of Fish, Wildlife, and Parks. He covers the southern end of Montana’s Rocky Mountain Front. An active MEA-MFT member, Lonner serves as bargaining chair for his local affiliate, the Montana Association of Fish and Wildlife Biologists Local 4687. Here is what he says about his work, union, and life:

What we do: State fish and wildlife biologists are entrusted by the public with conserving and managing Montana’s fish and wildlife and their habitats. We collect and analyze data, provide science-based fishing and hunting season recommendations, give fish and wildlife information to the public, and work with other public agencies and private landowners.

Why it matters: From an economic and recreational perspective, Montana’s natural resources are an important part of many people’s lives. As biologists, we help assure that our natural resources will be there for future generations of Montanans to enjoy.

Toughest part of the job: In addition to the technical/scientific aspects of the job, biologists deal extensively with the public. Good communication skills and the ability to establish rapport with many different kinds of people are important and sometimes challenging. Also, the job requires problem-solving skills to address complex fish and wildlife issues.

What I love about the job: Being out in the field and seeing people enjoy the results of many years of hard work to maintain and improve our natural resources. One good example of this is Montana’s successful fishing and hunting heritage and opportunities.

Why I belong to MEA-MFT: Being affiliated with MEA-MFT means having important assistance in working for our interests and those of the resource, negotiating our contracts, and providing biologists with quality advice and legal representation in all job concerns.

MEA-MFT provides lobbying strength as we push for improvements in job conditions and compensation. Through this affiliation, our local joins thousands of other state employees during statewide bargaining sessions with the State of Montana on pay, compensation, retirement, and health insurance. 

What I do for fun: I like spending time camping, hunting, fishing, and hiking with my family or just enjoying the peaceful serenity of being in the great outdoors.

My family: As a fourth generation Montanan, I grew up in Bozeman and now live with my wife (Della) and two kids (Devin and Mia) in Fairfield.

Community involvement: I enjoy talking with kids about the importance of our natural resources.

After working with youth groups and having kids of my own now, I feel educating our youth about our natural resources is extremely important. For me, it’s like reliving the joys of my youth all over again.

Thanks, Brent, to you and your colleagues for doing work that matters!