Thanks to our dedicated staff, members, volunteers and conservation partners, our first-ever Conservation Week was a success. We highlighted the NWTF’s all-encompassing work through its Big Six Regions of Wildlife Conservation and had great conversations about the state of the wild turkey today. Moreover, we challenged our audience to enjoy the great outdoors and leave the land better than they found it.
From our landscape-scale initiatives to our projects done at a regional level, the NWTF highlighted the vast breadth of its conservation and hunting heritage mission. Wild turkey researchers, biologist and conservation leaders spoke to the importance of research, the relationship between hunters and turkeys, urgent conservation needs and much more.
In cased you missed out on the fun, here is a recap:
Challenge to Get Outdoors from NWTF CEO Becky Humphries
Big Six: Colonial Forests
From the boggy backwaters of Maine to the mountains of West Virginia, early settlers battled nature and the elements to establish a new life in a new land. Today, we must fight to keep that land working for wildlife and the people who call it home. We can’t go back in time, but we can do our part to reclaim what must have made those first steps in America so beautiful.
NWTF’s Technical Committee
The restoration of the wild turkey is touted as the greatest conservation story in America (and rightfully so), but this historic accomplishment did not happen overnight, nor did it happen due to one person or agency. Instead, the wild turkey’s success is the culmination of decades of collaboration, novel research and interstate partnerships, and nowhere else are these attributes more obvious than within the efforts of the NWTF Technical Committee.
Big Six: Southern Piney Woods
Healthy forests are economically important, and their natural diversity provides great wildlife habitat. However, the wildlife potential of many southern forests is unrealized due to the lack of active forest management. We must maintain and promote forest diversity in the South. It’s time for a southern pine revival.
The National Wild Turkey Symposium
Wild turkey research, coupled with determination, was undoubtedly the driving force that brought wild turkeys from catastrophic lows in the mid-20th century to historic highs in the early 2000s, and today, with an environment that is constantly in flux and population decreases being witnessed in certain pockets of the country, the job of the National Wild Turkey Symposium is just as important in the 2020s as it was when it was first held in 1959.
Big Six: Crossroads
America’s Midwest is as diverse as its land use. It’s where hard working families farm, mine and log to provide resources for our nation. Midwesterners cherish the recreational opportunities the land offers and build strong family legacies tied to the land. This region has also built the national reputation of having some of the highest turkey population densities and consistently produces more trophy class white-tailed deer than anywhere else in the country.
Cocktails and Conservation with Mike Chamberlain and Brett Collier
America’s Big Six: Mid-South Rebirth
NWTF’s Mid-South Rebirth is characterized by upland hardwood forests dominated by oaks, which provide critical food and habitat for wildlife. However, these oak forests that are home to countless turkeys and other wildlife are rapidly declining.
A Peek Behind the Scenes: Policy and the NWTF Mission
Delivering the NWTF’s mission takes on many forms and touches a wide range of topics and levels in our society.
Big Six: Western Wildlands
Wildlife habitat in the West spans from desert to high mountain tundra. The diversity of its vast countryside is what makes it a destination for hunters, travelers and wildlife watchers from all over the world. Merriam’s and Gould’s wild turkeys need healthy mountain habitats and healthy forests to thrive. Turkeys need big, mature trees for roosting, a healthy forest floor that allows them to move about and avoid predators and moist areas for raising broods. Healthy forests provide a diverse canopy and understory. They are also resilient to wildfire.
Big Six: Great Open Spaces
While our Great Open Spaces are filled with great turkey country and some of the best opportunities in the nation for outdoorsmen and women, there are conservation needs that must be addressed.
Celebrate National Hunting and Fishing Day