TENNESSEE – The National Wild Turkey Federation presented several USDA Forest Service employees with the Making Tracks award at the 43rd Annual Convention and Sport Show in Nashville, Tennessee on February 15. The Making Tracks award recognizes people and projects that best incorporate conservation education, partnerships and wild turkey management.
The individuals and programs recognized at the banquet helped the National Wild Turkey Federation achieve their “Save the Habitat. Save the Hunt” goals to conserve and enhance habitat, recruit hunters and open access for hunting.
“The USDA Forest Service is a long-time partner of the NWTF, helping to conserve the wild turkey through habitat enhancements and educating future outdoorsmen and women,” National Wild Turkey Federation CEO Becky Humphries said. “We are proud to honor this year’s recipients and look forward to continuing this mutually beneficial relationship with the Forest Service.”
Two Habitat Management Program awards were presented, recognizing accomplishments that benefit wild turkeys and their habitat:
The Group Habitat Management Program Award went to the Ninemile Ranger District of the Lolo National Forest. The western Montana district has been improving habitat since 2011. Fuels Specialist Jeffrey Hayes and his team completed three projects that improved nearly 13,000 acres of habitat and reduced fuel loading in the wildland urban interface. Partners contributed approximately $200,000 in funding and other assistance.
Brett Carre, a wildlife and fisheries biologist on the Columbia River Gorge National Scenic Area in Oregon and Washington, received an Individual Habitat Management Program Award. Since 2011, Carre led restoration efforts to improve wildlife habitat and restore ecosystems in the corridor along the Columbia River Gorge. His leadership improved wild turkey habitat on nearly 500 acres of woodlands and oak savannas. Several partners contributed more than $750,000 to complete restoration. Brett and his staff also hosted more than 300 presentations highlighting their efforts.
Two Partnership Achievement Awards were also presented, recognizing efforts to strengthen and expand the partnership between the Forest Service and the National Wild Turkey Federation:
The Green Mountain and Finger Lakes National Forests in Vermont and New York received a Group Partnership Achievement award for improving habitat for wild turkeys and other wildlife through three Cost Share Agreements. A new Stewardship Agreement will drive additional restoration on the Finger Lakes. The National Wild Turkey Federation and Finger Lakes have also helped restore instream and riparian habitat in the Seneca Lake and Cayuga Lake watersheds in New York. Multiple partners contributed funding and time.
Timber Contracting Officer Dennis Wilson received an Individual Partnership Award for his role in growing partnerships between the National Wild Turkey Federation and the Forest Service. Wilson helped develop collaborations between the Shawnee and Hoosier National Forests, Land Between the Lakes, and the National Wild Turkey Federation. This work improved wildlife habitat while providing forest products and improving stand conditions. The National Wild Turkey Federation contributed $175,000 in funding and more than 1,000 hours of volunteer time.
The National Wild Turkey Federation was founded in 1973. Today, the NWTF is focused on the future of hunting and conservation through its “Save the Habitat. Save the Hunt” initiative– a charge that mobilizes science, fundraising and devoted volunteers to conserve or enhance more than 4 million acres of essential wildlife habitat, recruit at least 1.5 million hunters and open access to 500,000 acres for hunting.