“It is truly an honor to receive the Roger Latham Award, an award named for an outstanding biologist and pioneering conservationist,” Eriksen said. “My long-standing association with the National Wild Turkey Federation has been a rewarding adventure, enabling me to deliver on-the-ground conservation with the greatest conservation organization in North America. Working within our local and state chapters has provided me with lifelong friendships with likeminded hunter-conservationists, opportunities to participate in hands-on wild turkey work and the satisfaction of seeing advances in research and management of this majestic game bird. It has been my pleasure to ‘give back’ to our wildlife resources and to see the growth and accomplishments of NWTF since I joined in 1974. Again, I am honored to be among dedicated volunteers who have received this prestigious award!”
Eriksen received one of four Roger M. Latham Sportsman Wild Turkey Service Awards during the NWTF’s 50th Anniversary celebration at its 47th annual NWTF Convention and Sport Show, sponsored by Mossy Oak.
Cristina McGannon-Jones, NWTF New Jersey WITO Chapter President accepted the award for Eriksen in his absence.
The NWTF presents Roger M. Latham Sportsman Wild Turkey Service awards to members who are not employed as professional wildlife managers but have made significant contributions to wild turkey conservation.
Eriksen has a storied history with the NWTF, from joining as a member just after Tom Rodgers founded the organization, to helping create the New Jersey State Chapter in 1978. Since his early involvement, Eriksen has contributed significantly to the NWTF mission in the Garden State.
For instance, before New Jersey converted toonline turkey harvest reports, Eriksen led a team of NWTF volunteers each year, tabulating turkey harvest data for each of the state’s hunt zones. This information provided the New Jersey Department of Fish and Wildlife a valuable resource, which ultimately led to the NWTF New Jersey State Chapter forging a working relationship with the agency.
Eriksen is involved in all things wild turkey conservation and hunting heritage, including working for his local chapter; his long tenure with the state chapter, which includes co-founder and past board president; and serving as a New Jersey Fish and Wildlife volunteer.
Over the past 49 years his contributions to the NWTF are far-reaching, including helping with local banquets, outreach events and even trapping and transferring birds.
“Ray has been with the NWTF since almost the beginning,” NWTF co-CEO Jason Burckhalter said. “His decades of mission delivery in New Jersey are felt across the state, and we are proud to honor him with a Roger Latham 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 50th anniversary, 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 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.