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Olson Earns National Conservation Award

NASHVILLE, Tenn. — Eric Olson received national recognition from the National Wild Turkey Federation as a recipient of the Roger M. Latham Sportsman Wild Turkey Service Award for his extraordinary dedication to the organization’s mission.

February 17, 20243 min read

“My involvement in the NWTF has introduced me to many new friends that share my interest in wildlife and habitat conservation,” Olson said. “The goal of preserving our hunting heritage is very important to me. In the last two years, I have mentored over 50 turkey and deer hunts for youth, apprentices and veterans. To win this prestigious award is a great honor.”

Olson received one of five Roger M. Latham Sportsman Wild Turkey Service awards during the 48th annual NWTF Convention and Sport Show, sponsored by Mossy Oak.

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. This award is named for Roger M. Latham, who authored the Complete Book of the Wild Turkey, working as a research ecologist, conservation biologist and environmental planner for over four decades. This service award recognizes up to five outstanding individuals who have made significant contributions by volunteering their personal time, energy and money working to deliver the mission of the NWTF.

Olson has been a dedicated NWTF member and volunteer for more than 20 years and is a member of the Brandon Boss Gobblers Chapter. He has served as chapter president, banquet chairman, and now serves as the treasurer.

He was elected to the South Dakota State Board of Directors and volunteered to be the chairperson of the next year's state convention at his first meeting. He later served as state chapter president for two years and then state treasurer for six years. During this time on the state board, he was deeply involved in helping to rewrite the South Dakota NWTF State Constitution. The state board honored him as Volunteer of the Year in 2008. He has also been inducted into the South Dakota NWTF Hall of Fame.

The Brandon Boss Gobblers Chapter has a history of growing in committee members, banquet attendance and financial success in net-to-gross and dollars generated for the NWTF Super Fund. With Olson’s help, the chapter hosted the first banquet in South Dakota to raise over $50,000 net in 2023. They are the state leader in cumulative Super Fund dollars raised by initiating a $500 Youth Sponsor and the $1,000 Habitat Sponsor levels and have led the way to help other chapters in South Dakota increase their sponsor levels. Olson has been a key player in increasing the sponsor memberships in South Dakota and helping the regional director deliver the message of how important sponsor members are to the fundraising efforts. He has been a key factor in expanding the Brandon Chapter equivalent sponsor count to nearly 150 $250 sponsors.

Additionally, the Brandon Boss Gobblers Chapter hosts education and outreach programs each year, including JAKES, Wheelin’ Sportsmen and WITO events. Olson helps coordinate supplies and volunteers for all events and is the chairperson for the WITO event. He also volunteers at numerous events across the state. Likewise, Olson has participated in the South Dakota Game, Fish and Parks mentor program for the last 10 years, introducing youth to turkey and deer hunting. He arranges the hunt location and provides all the essentials for the hunt.

He and his wife, Mary, are perpetual sponsor members and have attained Patron Sponsor level.

“From all the work he has done on both a local and state chapter level, Erik never ceases to deliver on the NWTF mission,” NWTF co-CEO Jason Burckhalter said. “He is involved in all aspects, be it organizing and working at education and outreach events, raising funds for the mission or simply providing a positive attitude to help other volunteers. We are proud to honor his work with a Roger M. Latham Sportsmen Wild Turkey Service 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 positively impacted over 23 million acres of critical wildlife habitat. The NWTF has also invested over $9 million into wild turkey research to guide the management of the wild turkey population and to ensure sustainable populations into perpetuity. The organization continues to deliver its mission by working across boundaries on a landscape scale through its Four Shared Values: clean and abundant water, healthy forests and wildlife habitat, resilient communities, and robust recreational opportunities. With the help of its dedicated members, partners and staff, the NWTF continues its work to provide Healthy Habitats. and Healthy Harvests. for future generations.

Filed Under:
  • Convention and Sport Show
  • Healthy Habitats
  • Healthy Harvests
  • Hunting Heritage