Frye: Bear man heads off to retirement
TribLIVE Sports Videos
You know the deal with Superman and Clark Kent, right?
No one ever saw them together. But wherever one was, the other was sure to be.
It used to drive Lois Lane crazy.
That's sort of how it was with Joe Stefko and black bears. If you were a teacher, a scout, a student, a youngster at a youth field day, a female at a Women in the Outdoors class and you saw one, you saw the other, too.
Stefko was the Pennsylvania Game Commission's first wildlife education supervisor. Based in the southwest region, he did all manner of outreach programs to connect people — many of them non-hunters — with wildlife. Black bear programs were a speciality.
But no more.
Stefko retired from the commission Jan. 3, ending a career that spanned nearly three decades.
“There comes a time in one's life journey that is marked by a crossroads, and I have reached that place,” Stefko said. “I have been indeed fortunate to have enjoyed a career that most people would have loved to have pursued.”
Health issues played a part in his decision, he said, noting that he had triple bypass surgery two years ago. But he's otherwise going out on top, having set records for personal involvement in programs in 2013.
“I don't know of anyone in the agency who has put more time and effort into teaching kids about the outdoors,” said Tom Fazi, information and education supervisor in the commission's southwest region office and a coworker 22 years.
Over the years, Stefko became known for working with students at Cal (Pa.) interested in wildlife and fisheries careers. That involved internships but also the school's wild game dinner and firearms classes, where non-shooting students were introduced to guns and hunting.
“Time was never an issue for Joe. He would work with the students seven days a week, from sun up to well past sun down on some days. He was a consummate professional and a great friend,” said David Argent, chairman of the biological and environmental sciences department. “We will sorely miss him.”
The commission plans to fill Stefko's job from within the ranks of its wildlife conservation officers, spokesman Travis Lau said.
But given that he “defined the duties and expectations” of being a wildlife education supervisor, “he will be hard to replace,” agency region director Pat Anderson said.
Bob Frye is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. Reach him at email@example.com or via Twitter @bobfryeoutdoors.
Show commenting policy
TribLive commenting policy
You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.
We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.
While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.
We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers.
We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.
We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.
We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.
We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.
- Fishing report: Fall fishing good when conditions allow
- Fenced-in deer hunts spark debate
- New rules may be in offing for some special trout streams
- Frye: Chronic wasting disease news and hunter trends
- Regulation changes could be in store for Western Pa. lakes
- Outdoors notebook: License buttons to get wider distribution
- Statewide hunters numbers following that of pheasants
- Outdoors notices: Oct. 27, 2014
- Outdoor notices: Oct. 26, 2014