Michigan Man Wins NWTF National Conservation Award
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NASHVILLE, Tenn. - Ken Buchholtz, the “Teddy Roosevelt of the Upper Peninsula,” is a recipient of the NWTF’s Roger M. Latham Sportsman Wild Turkey Service Award.
A dedicated sportsman and conservationist, Buchholtz is also a master of communication and collaboration, talents that have been a great benefit to the outdoors community in Michigan.
Buchholtz’ vast volunteer work includes introducing the outdoors to youth and creating opportunities for women and hunters with disabilities, as well as significant wildlife habitat conservation and hunter access efforts.
“In this area, Ken is equivalent to Teddy Roosevelt with his passion for conservation, education and wildlife management,” said fellow NWTF Bay de Noc Chapter member Todd Bernson. “He exemplifies, if not defines, what a conservationist is. I know of no other people who would exhibit this level of passion and/or dedication for the betterment of others.”
“We’re proud to honor someone exhibiting the zeal and dedication toward the NWTF’s vision that Ken has displayed,” said NWTF chief conservation officer James Earl Kennamer, Ph.D.
Buckholtz received the Latham Award Feb. 16 in Nashville, Tenn., at the annual NWTF Convention and Sport Show, which celebrated the NWTF’s 40th anniversary with the theme, “Save the Habitat. Save the Hunt.”
Latham Awards are given to NWTF members who are not professional wildlife managers, but have made significant contributions to wild turkey conservation.
The Escanaba, Mich., native, works countless hours on youth programs, including hunting, shooting and archery. More than 430 youth have been reached in the last six years at outings organized by Buchholtz, whose National Hunt and Fish Day program has attracted more than 300 youth per year.
“His effort have had a tremendous impact on conservation in the Upper Peninsula and the state of Michigan,” said NWTF Midwest Area Manager Chris Eder. “He exemplifies the NWTF’s mission of conservation and the preservation of our hunting heritage.”
Since 2007, he’s worked hard on the development of three portable blinds for hunters with disabilities and provided numerous outdoor opportunities for people in assisted living programs.
“That’s what it’s all about - opportunities,” Buchholtz said.
By collaborating with state and federal agencies and other groups of wildlife supporters, Buchholtz has enhanced hunting opportunities within his region and state.
Buchholtz’ efforts led to a change from short-period lottery turkey hunts to a single, long season without a lottery. Working with the Michigan Department of Natural Resources, Buchholtz helped put together a program providing landowners with apple trees that provide winter food for wildlife.
A tireless worker with the NWTF Conservation Seed Program, Buchholtz has rallied corporate interests to improve wildlife habitat on their properties.
“It’s all about communications and building partnerships,” said Buchholtz, who sits on the Board of Directors of the MDNR and attends wildlife habitat conservation meetings throughout Michigan.
“Under Ken’s leadership as District Director, the positive contributions of the NWTF are constantly in the news here,” said Craig Albright, wildlife biologist with the MDNR.
Buchholtz has maintained his hard work and dedication despite health problems that led to kidney transplant in 2007.
NWTF regional director Keith Rubin, credits Buchholtz’ leadership for making the Upper Peninsula a model NWTF region.
“With his significant accomplishments with their enduring legacy that represent the very best in NWTF, he deserves this award,” said Rubin.
The NWTF, a nonprofit organization, is the leader in upland wildlife habitat conservation. Through dynamic partnerships with state, federal and provincial wildlife agencies, the NWTF and its members have helped restore 17.3 million acres of wildlife habitat, investing $412 million.
Since the NWTF’s founding in 1973, the North American wild turkey population has increased from 1.3 million to 6.5 million with wild turkey inhabiting 99 percent of suitable habitat.