NASHVILLE, Tenn. – The Making Tracks with the USDA Forest Service awards recognize people and projects that best incorporate conservation education, partnerships and wild turkey management. The awards are presented during the National Wild Turkey Federation Convention and Sport Show to projects and programs that achieve goals of the organization's Save the Habitat. Save the Hunt. initative.
The Hoosier’s Wetland Restoration and Enhancement Project in Indiana received a group award for Habitat Management Projects. This award recognizes project accomplishments that benefit wild turkeys for a single year. The project helped create habitat where wild turkeys can flourish due to increased availability of water and food sources. Additional wildlife, such as the American woodcock and several bat species, also benefit from the work.
Representatives from Hoosier National Forest and the Indiana Department of Natural Resources accepted plaques for their organizations’ roles in the project.
The Calamity Basin Habitat Improvement Project in Uncompahgre National Forest in Colorado also received a group award for Habitat Management Projects. The project helped provide long-term roosting habitat for wild turkey populations and makes the area more resilient to beetles and fire.
Eric Freels, Bill Edwards, Craig Warren, Mark Murrell, Dan Gray and Julie Grode received plaques for their roles in the project.
The Black Kettle National Grasslands Riparian Restoration Project in Oklahoma received a group award in the Habitat Management Program category. This award recognizes program accomplishments that benefit wild turkeys over several years. The programs have provided immediate roost and loafing habitat for Rio Grande wild turkeys. Habitat improvements also have benefited white-tailed deer.
Tom Smeltzer, Chuck Milner, Joe Barnett and Ian Fox received plaques for their roles in the program.
The Hogback Ridge Wildlife Habitat Improvement project in Tennessee received a group award in the Partnership Achievement category. This award recognizes accomplishments in strengthening and expanding the partnership between the NWTF and the Forest Service. The project has improved wild turkey brood habitat by encouraging wildlife openings and improving early stage forest growth. Habitat improvements also have benefitted northern bobwhite quail and other grassland species of wildlife.
Representative from Ocoee Ranger District, Tennessee Wildlife Resources Agency, Cherokee NWTF Chapter and Partners of the Cherokee received plaques for their groups’ roles in the partnership.
The Angelina-Sabine Save the Hunt Team of Texas received a group award in the Conservation Education category. This award recognizes conservation and education projects for wild turkey restoration, management and conservation. For the past five years, the group has partnered with the April AWOL, Gulf Coast and Pinewoods NWTF chapters to host outreach events for youth and hunters with mobility impairments and special needs. The work that goes into making these events possible helps to create and improve habitat for wild turkeys and numerous other species of wildlife.
Mandy Chumley, Lanton Chumley, Jamie Sowell, Michael Sowell, Justin Seaborn, Sam Lyons, Shawn Wyckoff, James Harbour, Lawana Bickley, Jason Engle, Ron Haskens, Ronny Butler, Tiffany Jones and David Jones received awards for their roles in the conservation education program.
About Save the Habitat. Save the Hunt.
The NWTF Save the Habitat. Save the Hunt. initiative is a charge that mobilizes science, fundraising and devoted volunteers to give the NWTF more energy and purpose than ever. Through this national initiative, NWTF has committed to raising $1.2 billion to conserve or enhance more than 4 million acres of essential upland wildlife habitat, create at least 1.5 million hunters and open access to 500,000 acres for hunting, shooting and outdoor enjoyment. Without hunters, there will be no wildlife or habitat. The NWTF is determined to Save the Habitat. Save the Hunt.
For more information, contact Peter Muller at (803) 637-7698.