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NWTF Presents Forest Service Awards

For Immediate Release

For photos and interviews, contact John Brasier at (803) 637-7667 or

NASHVILLE, Tenn. — Nine individuals and one NWTF chapter working on critical projects in Arkansas, New Mexico, West Virginia, Indiana and Utah were honored with Making Tracks with the Forest Service Awards Feb. 14 during the 37th annual NWTF Convention and Sport Show.

The awards given by the NWTF and USDA Forest Service recognize people and projects that best incorporate conservation education, partnerships and wild turkey management.

The Habitat Management Program category recognizes program accomplishments that benefit wild turkeys over several years.

  • Chad Lunsford, Biological Sciences Technician, from Ozark National Forest, Pleasant Hill Ranger District, in Arkansas earned the Individual Habitat Program Award for implementation of wildlife habitat improvement program. His accomplishments included completing more than 3,900 acres of terrestrial wildlife habitat improvement and more than 5,900 acres of trust fund wildlife habitat improvement. His work improved habitat for wild turkey, white tailed deer, bats, neotropical migratory birds, bobwhite quail and fire dependent rare plant species.
  • Jeannie Dawson, Forester, from Cibola National Forest, Mountain Taylor Ranger District, in New Mexico earned the Group Habitat Management Program Award for her work with the 25,000-acre Bluewater Restoration Project and the 32,000-acre Puerco Landscape Planning Project. Nearly 5,000 acres of mechanical treatment and 4,000 acres of prescribed burning have been completed at Bluewater. The projects benefit Merriam’s wild turkeys by providing enhanced understory vegetation while retaining and developing roost trees and poult cover.
  • Clyde Thompson, Forest Supervisor; Dan Arling, Forest Wildlife Biologist; Rondi Fischer, District Ranger; Jim McCormick, District Wildlife Biologist; and Anne Workman, Grants and Agreements Specialist, from Monongahela National Forest earned the Group Habitat Management Project Award for their efforts in the Middle Mountain Wildlife Stewardship Project in West Virginia. The stewardship project of the NWTF and Forest Service improves conditions for wild turkeys and other species on more than 2,000 acres. The project has increased food, water and cover available for wild turkeys and other wildlife species.

The Partnership Achievement category recognizes accomplishments in strengthening and expanding the partnership between the Forest Service and the NWTF.

  • The Dogwood Drummers Chapter and Steve Harriss, Wildlife Biologist from the Hoosier National Forest, Brownstown Ranger District, in Indiana received the Group Partnership Achievement Award. The Brownstown Ranger District and the Dogwood Drummers have educated hundreds of students from urban areas about the forest, wild turkeys and other species with interactive presentations. The chapter also has given presentations at the annual Handi-Capable Camp, which hosts 100 campers each year.
  • Don Okerlund, Program Manager, from Fishlake National Forest, Richfield Ranger District, in Utah received the Individual Partnership Achievement Award for his work on the Box Creek Hazardous Fuels Reduction Project. The project reduces hazardous fuels and enhances aspen regeneration and forest health. More than 600 acres have been treated to provide aspen regeneration and fuel breaks.

The Forest Service and the NWTF have also partnered in several other wildlife habitat projects and grant programs such as More Kids in the Woods.
The NWTF is a nonprofit conservation organization that works daily to further its mission of conserving the wild turkey and preserving our hunting heritage. Through dynamic partnerships with state, federal and provincial wildlife agencies, the NWTF and its members have helped restore wild turkey populations across the country, investing more than $412 million to conserve 17.3 million acres of critical habitat for all types of wildlife.
For more information about the NWTF, call (800) THE-NWTF or visit




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