The Making Tracks with the Forest Service awards recognize people and projects that best incorporate conservation education, partnerships and wild turkey management. The awards are presented during the National Wild Turkey Federation’s (NWTF) Convention and Sport Show to people and projects that achieve goals of the organization’s Save the Habitat. Save the Hunt. initative.
Wayne National Forest in Ohio, took top honors in the Habitat Management Program category. This award recognizes program accomplishments that benefit wild turkeys over several years. Numerous programs and projects take place on Wayne National Forest. Nearly 5,500 acres of habitat will receive or already have received improvements or enhancements.
Patrick Mercer, Lynda Andrews and Steve Blatt received plaques for their individual roles in the program.
The Land Between The Lakes National Recreation Area in Kentucky and Tennessee took top honors in the Partnership Achievement category. This award recognizes accomplishments in strengthening and expanding the partnership between the NWTF and the USDA Forest Service.
Activities at Land Between The Lakes include mowing, planting, improving pastures, restoring native grasses, removing invasive species, and grinding and mulching. Since 2008, the cooperative agreement with NWTF has resulted in approximately 6,000 acres directly impacted through stewardship activities.
Elizabeth Raikes, Steve Bloemer, Robert Sigler and Dennis Wilson received plaques for their individual roles in the partnership.
Chattohoochee-Oconee National Forest in Georgia, took top honors in the Conservation Education category. This award recognizes conservation and education projects for wild turkey restoration, management and conservation.
The project includes a two three-year prescribed burning cycles and restoring native grasses to improve habitat for wild turkey. Schools and the local chamber of commerce recognize the value of the project and are integrating the area into the agritourism program. Groups such as Forest Watch, Sierra Club and Friends of the Forest have toured the project area.
Liz Caldwell, Angela Marcano, Zack Nichols and David Fowler received plaques for their individual roles in the education program.
The Pinaleño Ecosystem Restoration Project Award in Coronado National Forest took top honors in the Habitat Management Project category. This award recognizes project accomplishments that benefit wild turkeys for a single year. The project improved forest health and conserved habitat for a variety of species including Gould’s wild turkeys.
Craig Wilcox, Anne Casey and Matt Littrell accepted plaques for their individual roles in the project.
For the last several years, the U.S. Forest Service and the NWTF have collaborated on several cooperative projects including stewardship agreements, NWTF Hunting Heritage Super Fund habitat and Energy for Wildlife projects, and grant programs like More Kids in the Woods.
Announcement by the National Wild Turkey Federation.