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Adams Receives National Wildlife Manager of the Year Award

NASHVILLE, Tenn. – The NWTF presented Steve Adams, Kansas Department of Wildlife and Parks wildlife biologist, with the Joe Kurz Wildlife Manager of Year Award for decades of outstanding wild turkey and wildlife habitat management.

February 18, 20233 min read

“Over the past 28 years with KDWP, I have been fortunate to be able to work on turkey habitat development, research projects and youth hunts to pass on the hunting heritage to the next generation,” Adams said. “Being recognized by NWTF with the Joe Kurz Wildlife Manager of the Year Award is the honor of my career as a biologist. All my work with the wild turkey has been a collaboration with many co-workers and the partnership we have with the National Wild Turkey Federation. When I started work with Kansas Department of Wildlife and Parks, I was fortunate to be in an area with a very high turkey population. Through our trap-and-transfer program, we were able to move birds to western Kansas, Texas and Utah. It was so rewarding to see how these birds flourished in their new habitats.”

Adams received the Joe Kurz Wildlife Manager of the Year Award at the NWTF’s 50th anniversary celebration during its 47th annual NWTF Convention and Sport Show, sponsored by Mossy Oak.

The NWTF named the Joe Kurz Wildlife Manager of the Year Award after the former Georgia Department of Natural Resources wildlife chief for his leadership and the vital role he played in improving wildlife management efforts. Kurz also was a principal figure in wild turkey trap-and-transfer programs across North America.

Adams began his career with the Kansas Department of Wildlife and Parks in 1995 as a biological technician at Wilson Wildlife Area through the Wildlife Management Institute. He is now an area wildlife biologist north of Wichita, a cooperative position between KDWP and the USDA Natural Resources Conservation Service. In this capacity, Adams works with landowners to deliver habitat management programs in south-central Kansas. He is active in all KDWP population monitoring surveys, including prairie chickens, pheasant, quail and deer surveys. However, it is in his work with wild turkeys that Adams’ expertise and passion shines.

Adams has spent many cold mornings in a blind overlooking a field, waiting for turkeys to enter a drop zone for capture. He was an integral part of the turkey restoration process in Kansas, identifying winter flocks to utilize as source populations for restoration efforts in other parts of the state. He led the effort on trapping flocks of wild turkeys from 1998 through 2004 for restoration efforts in Utah and providing turkeys to Texas in 2013.

Adams has participated in KDWP’s Turkey Committee since 2007, providing vital perspective and important leadership. He has been a consistent leader on the committee, continually advocating for hunter opportunities while balancing the population status of the species.

Additionally, he has been a mentor to many younger members of the committee and has provided important and impactful perspective to several statewide biologists and KDWP leadership.

Adams has led a sustained effort to develop, coordinate, and lead youth-mentored turkey hunts in central Kansas for almost 20 years.

“Throughout his incredible career, Steve has been a champion for the wild turkey and our hunting heritage in Kansas,” NWTF co-CEO Kurt Dyroff said. “His 28 years of dedicated service speaks for itself. We are proud to honor his work with the NWTF Wildlife Manager of the Year Award.”

About the National Wild Turkey Federation

Since 1973, the National Wild Turkey Federation has invested over half a billion dollars into wildlife conservation and has conserved or enhanced over 22 million acres of critical wildlife habitat. The organization continues to drive wildlife conservation, forest resiliency and robust recreational opportunities throughout the U.S. by working across boundaries on a landscape scale.

2023 is the NWTF's 50th anniversary and an opportunity to propel the organization's mission into the future while honoring its rich history. For its 50-year celebration, the NWTF has set six ambitious goals: positively impact 1 million acres of wildlife habitat; raise $500,000 for wild turkey research; increase membership to 250,000 members; dedicate $1 million to education and outreach programs; raise $5 million to invest in technology and the NWTF's people; and raise $5 million to build toward a $50 million endowment for the future. Learn how you can help us reach these lofty goals.

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  • Convention and Sport Show