Representatives from local NWTF chapters in Arizona, Texas, Minnesota and New Jersey received the NWTF Partnership Awards during the NWTF’s 50th anniversary celebration at its 47th annual NWTF Convention and Sport Show, sponsored by Mossy Oak.
“Collaboration is essential to extending the scope of our mission delivery and making the largest impact possible,” NWTF co-CEO Kurt Dyroff said. “We are proud to award our Arizona, Minnesota, Texas and New Jersey chapters with Partnership Awards for collaborating and forging new partnerships that help us deliver our mission.”
This year’s winners received the Partnership Award for the following collaborative events:
New Jersey WITO Chapter – Adult Mentored Turkey Hunt
U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service co-hosted an Adult Turkey Hunting Workshop with the NWTF and Backcountry Hunters and Anglers at the agency’s Wallkill River National Wildlife Refuge.
Hunters participated in a range safety workshop and shooting, as well as a turkey habitat and biology workshop presented by retired biologist Bob Eriksen, known to Turkey Call readers as Dr. Tom. Refuge staff spoke about hunting opportunities on the refuge and FWS law enforcement spoke about safety, rules and regulations.
“This award highlights the time, effort and dedication of not only our volunteers and chapter members, but also our partners who walk beside us in our goal of getting folks outdoors,” said Cristina McGannon-Jones, NWTF New Jersey WITO Chapter president. “Our chapter has worked tirelessly to bring together partners from other NGOs as well as agencies, and even one of our local high school’s Future Farmers of America. Our chapter and our partners work hard to offer well-rounded mentored hunting experiences to new or newer hunters. One of the most important goals is to highlight public access hunting opportunities whether it be on state-owned wildlife management areas or federal refuge property. This allows our hunters to gain confidence in hunting public land with a mentor, but we also take it a step further and offer workshops that highlight how to find public land to hunt.”
Minnesota State Chapter – 2022 Alexandria Youth Activity Day
The NWTF Minnesota State Chapter co-sponsored the Minnesota Youth Outdoor Activity Day in Alexandria for the fifth year, introducing flocks of interested youth to conservation, turkey hunting and the state chapter’s robust mentored-hunt program.
The annual Youth Outdoor Activity Day is a free, family-friendly event intended to provide youth with a fun environment to learn about outdoor recreation in its many forms. Activities included trap shooting, hunting, angling, fishing, ax throwing, archery and more.
“Every year we are losing a tradition that many of us grew up with,” said Ralph Warzecha, NWTF Minnesota Save the Hunt coordinator. “Our Youth Activity Day introduces thousands of kids to the great outdoors year after year. We are incredibly proud of our partnership that makes this event possible.”
Texas Chapters - Kaufman Co. Double Beards, Cross Timbers and Cottonwood Creek Chapters
This was the fourth year the local NWTF chapters have been able to host a hunt for physically disabled children between the ages of 13-18. The hunt is held on a 2,400-acre area managed by the Army Corp of Engineers, which is only open to for hunts like this. With two morning hunts and two evening hunts, participants are allowed plenty of chances to see and harvest deer, and the hunt has become a heartwarming and life-changing event.
Partners included the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department, Hunt for Cure and Army Corp of Engineers.
“The Partnership Award means a great deal to me and our chapter because it shows that we had a successful event,” said Chris Womack, NWTF Kaufman Co. Chapter president. “Being able to combine three local chapters means more volunteers to help, on the ground, with the event. ‘It takes a village’ is a true statement. Then, working with the Texas Parks and Wildlife Dept. for deer survey numbers and MLD permits as well as Game Wardens helping during the event. We could not hold the event without the Army Corps of Engineers allowing us to hunt on their property. They also had staff members that helped with area of the event. Of course, we also needed disabled youth to come out and hunt. We made another great partnership with a non-profit group, Texas Hunt for the Cure, to locate kids to participate. Besides the wonderful partnerships over these past several years, the most rewarding thing is the impact this hunt makes to the kids and their families.”
Arizona State Chapter – Marvin Robbins Youth Turkey Hunt
The event provides kids and their families a chance to learn about the outdoors and hunting turkeys. It is all-inclusive, including seminars explaining turkey hunting and the outdoors, information on the NWTF and provides door prizes for everyone. Mentors are provided for the youth with an emphasis on first-time hunters, and quite often, participants’ entire family gets to experience the enjoyment of the hunt.
Partners included Arizona Sportsmen for Wildlife Conservation, NWTF Arizona State Chapter, Arizona Game and Fish Department and Prescott Hunters Education.
“We are incredibly proud of the great partnerships that we have in Arizona,” Arizona State Chapter President Roy Crain said. “It is through our dedicated volunteers and NWTF staff that have forged these partnerships which allow us to create such enriching events.”
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.