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TPWD Wildlife Biologist Leaves Legacy of Habitat Conservation
PALESTINE – Texas Parks and Wildlife Department wildlife biologist Wesley Brian Littrell, 32, of Athens, was killed last Friday afternoon in a tractor-related accident on the Gus Engeling Wildlife Management Area in northwest Anderson County. He leaves behind an unfinished legacy of habitat conservation.
“Wes was a biologist’s biologist, most content when carrying a drip torch, reseeding an old field with native grasses, disking a fire break, thinning a stand of post oaks, and sharing his passion for the land and the habitat that he loved with all who would listen,” said Carter Smith, TPWD executive director. “I trust we may all take some measure of solace knowing that Wes died on the WMA while doing the work he loved best. He will be missed dearly by his colleagues inside the agency.”
Littrell’s mark can be seen in the native grassland fields he had a hand in creating in East Texas.
“Wes was known for his passion about native habitat management,” said Jeff Gunnels, area manager at the Gus Engeling WMA and Littrell’s supervisor. “He was ‘Mr. Habitat.’”
When he came to the WMA in December 2006, Littrell’s focus was doing the work needed to create demonstration sites he could then share with landowners to make landscape level impacts in native grassland conservation.
Gunnels added. “Wes was a doer who didn’t just come up with ideas, but took the lead in getting the job done.”
Like the native warm season grasses he sowed, Littrell’s reputation in the conservation arena was growing and spreading across the state. Other professionals began seeking his advice on native grassland conversion and restoration.
“He enjoyed working with landowners and showing them what they could accomplish in habitat improvement,” said Gunnels. “He also liked working with kids and teaching youth about habitat conservation.”
Littrell joined TPWD as a student intern in 1996, became an agency employee in the State Parks Division at Eisenhower State Park, was hired in 2001 as a wildlife biologist in northeast Texas counties along the Red River, and was the lead biologist at the Gus Engeling WMA since 2007.
Wes Littrell is survived by his wife Lynne who is expecting their first child in November; parents, Mike and Lynne Littrell of Tom Bean, TX; brother, Brad Littrell and wife Jenny of Hutto, TX; niece, Madilyn Littrell; grandfather, Oscar Wetzel of Tom Bean; father-in-law and mother-in-law, Gary and Malinda Bender of Cresco, PA; brother-in-law, Randy Bender and wife Gwen of Mountainhome, PA; and numerous aunts, uncles, and cousins.
Services for Wes Littrell have been set for Tuesday at 10 a.m. at the Wynne Chapel on the Austin College campus in Sherman. In lieu of flowers the family has requested memorial donations in Wes’ name be made to the following wildlife conservation organizations:Texas Chapter of The Wildlife Society
Welder Wildlife Foundation
Wes Littrell Memorial Fund
P.O. Box 1400
Sinton, TX 78387
Texas State Chapter, National Wild Turkey Federation
Wes Littrell Memorial Fund
121 CR 3131
Decatur, TX 76234
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