'Outdoor Life' Editor Receives National Award
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NASHVILLE, Tenn.— Andrew McKean remembers July 4, 1976 as more than our nation's 200th birthday.
It was also the day McKean, then 10 years old, saw a wild turkey for the first time near his home in rural, northern Missouri.
"I was right at the age where turkeys in Missouri were rare - like mythological creatures," recalled McKean, the recipient of the NWTF Communicator of the Year Award Feb. 16 at the NWTF Convention and Sport Show. "The hen looked like a roadrunner coming in from the field. It did a classic double-take and ran right past us.
Now, McKean, the editor of Outdoor Life magazine and current vice president of the NWTF Montana State Chapter, has a happier story to tell.
"We have wild turkeys all over back in that part of Missouri now - it's like Ground Zero for wild turkeys," he said.
And as the de facto spokesman for Outdoor Life, McKean tells stories well - and often - in person and on paper.
He makes it a point to blend conservation themes into his stories, even hunting adventures. Several of his stories have highlight NWTF wildlife habitat conservation projects.
"I think that's missing from a lot of first-person hunting (story) experiences. "I don't want us to lose sight of why we hunt. I hope that all my stories have that layer of depth - that North American wildlife is priceless."
McKean honed his communications skills while working for Montana Fish, Wildlife and Parks. His time was split between various duties, including teaching - hunter's education, conservation and fishing to kids.
"It ran the whole gamut," he said of the job. "There also was lots of writing, and I made presentations to groups like the Saturday Knitting Club."
With MFWP, McKean served as an editor with Fishing and Hunting News. He also contributed to Outdoor Life as a freelancer for several years. He was the magazine's hunting editor for four years before his promotion to editor last winter.
"Many people in the general public, and even many hunters, do not understand the deep connection between hunters and conservation. Andrew has an amazing ability to tell that story in an educational and entertaining way," said NWTF Public Relations Manager Josh Fleming. "Andrew's ability to connect the dots between hunters and conservation should aid the hunting community for years to come."
McKean, who lives in remote Glasgow, Mont., helped start the Montana NWTF chapter and served two terms as president. He has worked closely with our conservation and outreach efforts in that state. Throughout the country, McKean talks about his passions - hunting, conservation and the magazine. McKean's humble, low-key persona suits the role.
"I come across as somebody who's really approachable," he said. "I realize that this magazine's reputation was built over 115 years. I'm just one person who is part of that."
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.
For more information about the Communicator of the Year Award or other convention highlights, call (800) THE-NWTF, visit www.nwtf.org or go to www.facebook.com/theNWTF.