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Stewart Presented National Lifetime Achievement Award

NASHVILLE, Tenn. — The National Wild Turkey Federation presented Al Stewart, retired upland game bird specialist and program leader for the Michigan Department of Natural Resources, with the Wayne Bailey Lifetime Achievement Award.

February 18, 20243 min read

“I feel truly honored to be the recipient of this year’s Wayne Bailey Lifetime Achievement Award,” Stewart said. “This acknowledgment is particularly meaningful to me because in the early years of my career, I looked up to Wayne Bailey as a mentor.  The foundation of my knowledge about wild turkeys can traced back to Wayne.  His dedication to NWTF’s wild turkey technical committee is what helped forge my commitment to wild turkey restoration and management.  Through the years, I have tried to emulate Wayne by sharing my experiences with others that are beginning their journey in the field of natural resources. I greatly appreciate the honor of being recognized by NWTF and my peers for this prestigious award.  It has been a privilege to work alongside so many fine folks dedicated to protecting the tradition of hunting, fishing and sustainable natural resource management in this country.”

The NWTF announced Stewart’s award during the organization’s 48th annual NWTF Convention and Sport Show, sponsored by Mossy Oak.

The Wayne Bailey Lifetime Achievement Award recognizes a wildlife biologist, trapper or wildlife manager who has devoted his or her career to the wild turkey and played a major role in the turkey’s restoration and management.

Stewart serves as director of the Nimrod Education Center and is also an adjunct instructor at Michigan State University. He is associated with the USA Olympic National Team that is located at Hillsdale College, and he serves as vice president of the Glassen Foundation.

He retired from the Michigan Department of Natural Resources after 50 years with the organization and sat on the NWTF technical committee for nearly 40 years. 

“I failed at retirement,” Stewart said.  “My position at Hillsdale College has allowed me to remain active in the natural resources field.  As Director of the Nimrod Education Center my mission is to inform the public about the contributions that hunters and anglers make to conservation.  I love this new chapter in my career.”

Stewart has both a professional and personal interest in upland game birds. He has followed them for over 50 years, having had the opportunity to study them in Europe, Russia, Canada, Great Britain, Africa, Mexico and the U.S.

As the upland game bird specialist and program leader for the Michigan Department of Natural Resources, he was responsible for statewide conservation and management programs for ruffed grouse, American woodcock, sharp-tailed grouse, quail, pheasants and wild turkeys.

Stewart has been involved with teaching wildlife management for study abroad classes in Africa and Russia. He has also taught at the South African Wildlife College. Stewart oversaw the largest American woodcock chick banding program in the world and is the only person to have captured for restoration or research projects all the species and subspecies of wild turkeys in the world. He is an International Union for Conservation of Nature commissioner and a professional member of the Boone and Crockett Club.

Stewart has contributed to international and national management activities for upland game birds and has received numerous awards for his contributions, including the Teddy Roosevelt National Conservation Award from President George H. Bush that was presented at the White House, MSU Outstanding Alumni Service Award, the NWTF’s Henry S. Mosby Award, Pheasants Forever Lifetime Achievement Award, Dodge Brothers National Conservation Award by Matilda Dodge Wilson Foundation at Meadowbrook Hall, Marv Cooley DNR Wildlife Division dedication award and Michigan United Conservation Club’s Legacy Award.

“Al is one of the most accomplished wild turkey managers of our time,” NWTF co-CEO Kurt Dyroff said. “Be it habitat management, research or his dedicated service on the NWTF’s Wild Turkey Technical Committee, Al’s immense career has furthered our understanding and has greatly impacted the wild turkey, in Michigan and beyond. We are proud to honor Al’s extraordinary legacy with the prestigious Wayne Bailey Lifetime Achievement 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
  • Wild Turkey Research
  • Wildlife Management