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02/15/2014

Conservation Service Earns Lee Johnson an NWTF Latham Award



William "Lee" Johnson
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NASHVILLE, Tenn.— William "Lee" Johnson of Bakersfield, Calif., is a true champion of wildlife conservation. For his commitment, Johnson received a Roger M. Latham Sportsman Wild Turkey Service Award.

Johnston accepted his award during the 38th annual NWTF Convention and Sport Show in Nashville, Tenn. MidwayUSA was the official show sponsor.

The National Wild Turkey Federation (NWTF) determined this year's award winners based on how their work strengthens the organization's new Save the Habitat. Save the Hunt. initiative. Johnson recently completed a term as president of the NWTF California State Chapter board of directors and works frequently with various conservation groups to promote conservation and hunting to youth and new hunters.

"I got involved with the NWTF because I liked how the organization focused on conservation and hunting, and was impressed by how they treat kids and members of the military," Johnson said. "It started as wanting to be part of the NWTF team, and now it's also about setting an example for other chapters. My winning this award was a team effort. Being nominated was exciting and winning is indescribable."

The Roger M. Latham Sportsman Wild Turkey Service Awards are given to NWTF members who are not employed as professional wildlife managers, but have made significant contributions to wild turkey conservation.

Johnson has served his community and state ethically and passionately. He has been a member of the NWTF Bakersfield Chapter for 20 years. With his help, the chapter has received numerous awards, and has achieved "Two Million Dollar Chapter" status for fundraising efforts, which support the NWTF's mission.

His dedication extends far beyond fundraising. Through his commitment to promoting our nation's hunting heritage, Johnson helped establish, grow and promote the Bakersfield local chapter's Women in the Outdoors program and annual event. This award-winning event has become the largest and most successful event within its category in the U.S., and has introduced more than 4,000 women to outdoor pursuits. Johnson also participates in projects to support veterans and educate young hunters.

"During Lee's tenure as president of the Bakersfield Chapter, the chapter has raised in excess of $4 million to further the NWTF's mission," said Dave Mahlke, NWTF senior vice president of volunteer relations, field operations and training. "He's done as much work as anyone to reestablish wild turkeys in California, and to preserve and promote California's hunting heritage. He's served as a leader for many years, and his dedication has not wavered."

The NWTF's 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 and enhance more than 4 million acres of essential upland wildlife habitat, create at least 1.5 million new hunters and open access to 500,000 new 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.

Rob Stover of Missouri and Robert Spencer of Kentucky also received Latham awards at this year's convention.

For more information about the Roger M. Latham Sportsman Wild Turkey Service Awards or other convention highlights, contact Melanie Swearingen at mswearingen@nwtf.net or (803) 637-7634.

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