Alabama Man Receives National Conservation Award
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NASHVILLE, Tenn. - Mike Colquett has made it his mission to make sure today’s youth are able to enjoy hunting and outdoors the way he did.
For his dedication to preserving our hunting heritage, his effective leadership at the local and state level and his work toward wildlife habitat conservation, Colquett received the NWTF’s Roger M. Latham Sportsman Wild Turkey Award Feb. 16 at Gaylord Opryland Resort and Convention Center.
The lifelong Monroeville, Ala., resident, sees his work with the NWTF as a means to preserve values and rights he holds dear.
“It makes me happy to be able to leave something behind, not just take things with me,” Colquett said of introducing youth to hunting. “I’ve been very blessed in my life.”
The convention at the Gaylord Opryland Resort and Convention Center 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 NWTF is proud to recognize Mike’s dedication to conservation efforts and his introduction of youth to the outdoors,” said NWTF chief conservation officer James Earl Kennamer, Ph.D.
Colquett, an NWTF member since 1991, served as NWTF Alabama State Chapter president from 2007-2011 and was State Chapter secretary prior to that. He served as Monroe County Chapter banquet chairman for several years.
Colquett has fulfilled a lifelong goal of owning land and developing a conservation and preservation program for turkeys and other wildlife on it.
“Turkey hunting is like a religion in Alabama,” Colquett said. “I wanted to make sure our Constitutional rights to hunt and fish were maintained. I fear for the future of our Second Amendment rights and our Hunting Heritage as our country becomes more urban.
“Hopefully, we can ensure that our hunting heritage is not lost. If we lose that, we lose everything.”
Colquett does his part by taking youth on hunting trips - often on his own property. In the past year, he guided three youth who harvested their first deer.”
As Alabama State Chapter president, Colquett led an effort to invest more than $90,000, not including Super Fund money, to help fund an NWTF regional biologist position in Alabama as well as a seed subsidy program to enhance wild turkey habitat.
The state chapter under Colquett’s leadership also helped fund the purchase of 8,903 acres in conjunction with the Alabama Department of Wildlife and Freshwater Fisheries for public use.
During Colquett’s reign as president, the Alabama State Chapter contributed more than $100,000 for scholarships, JAKES memberships, and the establishment of Archery in the Schools programs.
A founding member of the Alabama Sportsmen’s Caucus, Colquett hosted the National Sportsmen’s Caucus on his family property in Point Clear, Ala.
“Mike’s commitment to conservation of the wild turkey and preservation of our hunting heritage is unequalled,” said Hunting Heritage Foundation executive director Corky Pugh. “His tenacity in the furtherance of what he believes in is a powerful force.”
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.