NASHVILLE, Tenn. – Darryl Williams and Chase Coakley, of the USDA Natural Resources Conservation Service, were recognized with conservation awards during the 46th annual National Wild Turkey Federation Convention and Sport Show, sponsored by Mossy Oak.
The Making Tracks with the NRCS awards recognize people or projects that best incorporate conservation education, partnerships and wild turkey management to support the NWTF’s Save the Habitat. Save the Hunt. initiative.
Habitat Management Category: Darryl Williams
Williams is the district conservationist in Okaloosa County, Florida, and he’s been with NRCS for decades. Williams has held several wild turkey workshops and has worked diligently with landowners to help restore private lands impacted by Hurricane Michael.
Williams also has assisted neighboring NRCS offices to support the allocation of Farm Bill financial assistance. He is a longtime supporter of the NWTF and is always willing to advocate for the wild turkey.
“As I reflect on my conservation career with the USDA Natural Resources Conservation Service, I have been protecting our natural resources for some 41 years now,” Williams said. “Nothing gives me greater pleasure than to be working with the NWTF and our other agency partners to implement and promote conservation for the betterment of our forests and wildlife. This effort has a to-do list that is perpetual. Therefore, it is critical that we pass along our acquired knowledge to all about the ‘do’s and don’ts’ for implementing sound conservation to benefit the wild turkey. Its survival depends on all of us to allow future generations the opportunity to experience and enjoy this magnificent bird.”
Partnership Achievement Category: Chase Coakley
Coakley is the Area 3 biologist and acting Area 2 biologist for the Tennessee NRCS. Coakley is a dedicated and passionate conservationist and has organized and spearheaded the setup of the Tennessee NRCS booth at the NWTF National Convention and Sport Show in previous years. This booth showcases NRCS programs that are habitat oriented and display animals and vegetation specimens from across the Tennessee landscape.
“Through my work with NRCS, I’ve been afforded many great opportunities to partner with individuals and groups to serve a greater purpose and accomplish mutual goals,” Coakley said. “Through the years I’ve seen the partnership between NWTF and NRCS grow. I believe one of the greatest recent achievements has been the National Forestry Initiative. Speaking from my experiences in Tennessee, this initiative has enabled immense conservation achievements through forestry technical assistance and adoption of conservation measures on private lands. I look forward to seeing the NRCS and NWTF partnership strengthen and grow as we work together to reach conservation outcomes.”
“We are grateful for our growing partnership with the NRCS and all that we have accomplished thus far,” NWTF CEO Becky Humphries said. “When our agency partners are just as dedicated as the flock, it sets us up for conservation success. Darryl and Chase are exemplary examples of what can be accomplished when we work toward a common goal.”
About the National Wild Turkey Federation
When the National Wild Turkey Federation was founded in 1973, there were about 1.3 million wild turkeys in North America. After decades of work, that number hit a historic high of almost 7 million turkeys. To succeed, the NWTF stood behind science-based conservation and hunters' rights. Today, the NWTF is focused on the future of hunting and conservation through its Save the Habitat. Save the Hunt. initiative. Since 2012, this 10-year initiative has already eclipsed goals of conserving or enhancing more than 4 million acres of essential wildlife habitat, recruiting or retaining more than 1.5 million hunters and opening access to more than 500,000 acres for hunting and other recreation opportunities. This critical work will continue to impact wildlife habitat and our great outdoors in the final year of the initiative.