NWTF Promotes Four Conservation Programs Staff Members

National Wild Turkey Federation
National Wild Turkey Federation

EDGEFIELD, S.C. –-(Ammoland.com)- Four national staff members of the National Wild Turkey Federation’s Conservation Programs department were promoted earlier this week by the NWTF’s Senior Vice President for Conservation Programs James Earl Kennamer, Ph.D.

– Robert Abernethy, who was the director of agency programs from 1995, was promoted to assistant vice president of agency and outreach programs.
– Scott Vance, who has worked for the NWTF since 1999, was promoted from his position as director of conservation field operations to assistant vice president of conservation programs administration.
– Joel Pedersen, who has worked for the NWTF since 1999, was promoted from his position as a senior wildlife biologist to the director of land access programs.
– Tom Hughes, who joined the NWTF’s staff in 2001, was promoted from senior wildlife biologist to director of research and outreach.

“These changes are designed to help us become more effective at meeting our goals to promote conservation of wild turkeys and other wildlife, practice good land stewardship, provide outdoor education and uphold our hunting traditions,” Kennamer said. “These four people are very well suited for the tasks ahead of them and have been an important part of the Federation for a long time. These structural changes will help us all do a better job for our volunteers through wildlife conservation, education and important research that will help keep wild turkeys and many other species of wildlife healthy for generations to come.”

Robert Abernethy, who was the director of agency programs since 1995, was promoted to assistant vice president of agency and outreach programs. Abernethy was born and raised in Charlotte, N.C., and earned a Bachelor of Science degree in Wildlife Biology at North Carolina State University and a Master of Science from Louisiana State University. For the last 30 years, Abernethy has worked on wildlife issues all over the U.S. and Canada, and now resides in Aiken, S.C.

During his 13 years with the Federation, Abernethy has worked with state wildlife agencies across the country to coordinate wild turkey restoration efforts in all suitable habitat in the U.S. and southern Canada. He also has worked with state and federal agency partners to fund cooperative wildlife biologist positions to improve wildlife habitat and ensure wild turkeys that have been released will have suitable habitat. These management and restoration efforts were funded by volunteer donations to the NWTF’s Hunting Heritage Super Fund, which annually spends more than $5 million on grants to states and individuals.

“Working for the NWTF is the highlight of my career,” said Abernethy. “The best part has been the relationships we have established with the volunteers and the wildlife professionals across the country who have all worked so hard to restore the wild turkey and protect and improve its habitat. I look forward to the coming years as we expand these relationships and work to introduce youth, women and Americans with disabilities to the out-of-doors.”

Scott Vance was promoted to the assistant vice president of conservation programs administration. For the last nine years, Vance has worked for the NWTF as a wildlife biologist, director of partnership programs and most recently as director of conservation field operations.

During his tenure with the NWTF, Vance has worked on numerous flagship programs including the NWTF’s Regional Habitat Programs, the Gould’s wild turkey restoration program, the North American Wild Turkey Management Plan, Energy for Wildlife and the development of the NWTF’s regional wildlife biologist program.

Vance, who grew up in Marion, N.C., and currently resides in North Augusta, S.C., earned a bachelor’s degree in Environmental Science from East Carolina University and a master’s degree in Environmental Toxicology from Clemson University.

“Working for the NWTF has been a great experience and I’m looking forward to working in this new role,” said Vance. “These changes fit well into our strategic plan and will help our conservation field staff work better with our national headquarters staff to help make us even more successful.”

Vance has worked for the last 14 years as a professional wildlife biologist and environmental toxicologist for numerous state agencies and the NWTF. He started his career in central Florida as a conservation biologist with the Florida Game and Fish Commission with primary duties of managing game populations and threatened and endangered species. He also worked in central Missouri for the Missouri Department of Conservation as a district wildlife biologist.

Joel Pedersen, who has worked for the NWTF since 1999, was promoted from his position as a senior wildlife biologist to director of land access programs. Pedersen grew up in Wayne, Neb., and currently resides in Edgefield, S.C. He earned a Bachelor of Science degree in Wildlife Biology from the University of Nebraska at Kearney and a Master of Science degree in Wildlife and Fisheries Science from the University of Tennessee. Pedersen went on to work for the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission as a District Wildlife Biologist and is a certified Wildlife Biologist through The Wildlife Society. Pedersen’s duties in his position include coordinating the NWTF’s Hunting Heritage Super Fund Program and managing the NWTF’s land access initiatives, which include More Places to Hunt and Wild Turkey Country. More Places to Hunt is designed to help increase land available to the public and Wild Turkey Country is NWTF’s conservation easement program, which provides incentives for wildlife habitat protection on private land.

Tom Hughes, who joined the NWTF staff in 2001, was promoted from senior wildlife biologist to director of research and outreach. Hughes, who was raised in Old Town, Fla., and currently resides in Ridge Spring, S.C., earned his bachelor’s degree in biology from Georgia Southern University and his master’s degree in wildlife biology from Clemson University.

Prior to working for the NWTF, Hughes, who is a certified wildlife biologist and a life-long turkey hunter, managed the hunting operations of two Georgia plantations. Since then, Hughes has overseen NWTF’s research grant program, NWTF’s hunter safety efforts and managed NWTF’s Outdoor Education Center. Additionally, he is the liaison for NWTF’s Families Afield initiative. As director of research and outreach, Hughes will now also oversee NWTF’s outreach programs, including JAKES, Women in the Outdoors and Wheelin’ Sportsmen.

For more information on National Wild Turkey Federation visit them online.

Media Contact: Brian Dowler (803) 637-3106 or [email protected]

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