Sudbury-based Ministry of Natural Resources and Forestry (MNRF) Conservation Officer Peter Koskela has been named 2020 Conservation Officer of the Year.
A 30-plus year veteran of the MNRF, the Sudbury enforcement unit member has spent the last 22 years as a CO in Gogama and Sudbury.
Koskela is a competent and skillful investigator who maintains excellent working relationships with other enforcement agencies who value and respect his investigation skills, the Ontario Conservation Officers Association (OCOA) stated on Sunday, May 2.
CO well respected
Some 26 letters of commendation supported his nomination.
“Peter is a dedicated officer who goes above and beyond to see an investigation through, including working long hours and leaving no stone unturned and until he is satisfied that he has collected all the evidence available,” OCOA President Sean Cronsberry stated.
“Peter isn’t the type of person who requires public recognition or acknowledgement for the work he does, he takes pride in his job and finds personal gratification in completing his duties to the best of his abilities. It is an honour and a privilege to publicly recognize Peter for his accomplishments.”
Koskela’s career highlights include investigations into careless hunting, forest fires, and illegal moose and elk hunting, leading several high-profile investigations, utilizing a variety of techniques including piloting remote aircraft for crime scene recreation, and working alongside Greater Sudbury Police to promote snowmobile safety.
He is a past recipient of the North American Wildlife Enforcement Officers Association Torch Award, an award given to recently appointed officers who have demonstrated exceptional ability and initiative in the performance of his or her duties and is respected by his/her peers and the general public.
Koskela is also part of many MNRF Enforcement Branch initiatives, including the North East Region decoy team, snowmobile procurement specification development, uniform and fleet committee, and trains other conservation officers on vessel safety legislation.
The officer was deeply honoured by and grateful for the recognition.
“I share this award with all the people that I have worked with, and those that I have crossed paths with throughout my career,” Koskela said. “I believe what makes us better is working together. Being a part of this team of Conservation Officers and enforcement branch staff and witnessing their dedication has truly been inspiring.”
He was also awarded the MNRF Conservation Officer of the Year Award and will get the Shikar-Safari Club International Ontario Wildlife Officer of the Year Award and the Ontario Federation of Anglers and Hunters (OFAH) Conservation Officer of the Year Award.