NWTF Bestows Wayne Bailey Honor at National Convention
NASHVILLE, Tenn. –-(AmmoLand.com)- The National Wild Turkey Federation honored two men who have dedicated their lives to conservation during the Federation’s 34th annual National Convention and Sport Show in Nashville today.
Indiana Department of Natural Resources (IDNR) wildlife biologist Steve Backs, and retired Massachusetts Division of Fish and Wildlife Biologist, James Cardoza, were presented the Wayne Bailey Lifetime Achievement Award, named for a pioneer in wild turkey restoration.
“Wayne Bailey was known to many as the godfather of modern turkey management and was a key player in the development of the NWTF,” James Earl Kenammer, Ph.D., NWTF’s chief conservation officer, told the crowd as he recognized Backs and Cardoza during the NWTF Conservation Awards Luncheon.
“To be recognized with an award bearing his name is special. We are very judicious when selecting someone for this honor, and I’m proud to be standing here recognizing these men’s dedication to wildlife conservation in front of their peers today.”
Said Backs, “Wayne Bailey accomplished so much in his career and everyone looked up to him. To receive an award named after one of my mentors is truly humbling.”
Backs has spent 31 years dedicating his career to quail, wild turkey and grouse research and conservation.
“During Steve’s career with the IDNR the number of wild turkeys has exploded statewide, and turkey hunters have grown from fewer than 1,000 to more than 60,000 strong,” Kennamer said. “Steve has worn many hats for the state during the past three decades, working with grouse, quail and wild turkeys. But ultimately, his work for all three species is inter-connected. His research, trap-and-transfer efforts and habitat improvement initiatives has been invaluable for everyone in the state — hunters and non-hunters alike.”
In 1996, Backs was honored as the IDNR’s Division of Fish and Wildlife Biologist of the Year and during his career has received several other service awards.
“Steve has steadily produced quality research and insight into upland bird biology, from turkeys to quail and grouse,” said Robert Abernethy, NWTF’s assistant vice president of agency and outreach programs. “He has authored more than 350 internal reports and published more than 20 technical manuscripts, including papers in five of nine National Wild Turkey Symposiums. Upland bird biology wouldn’t be what it is today without his contributions.”
The National Wild Turkey Symposium is held every five years and brings wildlife researchers together with the wildlife biologists who set season dates, bag limits and hunting regulations throughout the country. During the four-day conference, graduate students and wildlife researchers present 45 papers on dozens of subjects and years of wild turkey research — research done to learn what wild turkeys need to survive and why they behave as they do.
“I knew Wayne Bailey well and recognize his many accomplishments for wild turkeys, so I am very pleased to receive an award named after him,” Cardoza said. “However, I am just the recipient. I consider this a shared award with all the men and women who were involved with restoring wild turkeys in Massachusetts and nationwide.”
Cardoza served the wildlife and people of Massachusetts for 40 years before retiring in 2009. Prior to his retirement, Cardoza managed the wild turkey and black bear research and management projects for Massachusetts Division of Fisheries and Wildlife and was frequently called upon to handle any wayward moose that wandered in the Commonwealth.
“James Cardoza was a pioneer in wild turkey restoration in Massachusetts,” Abernethy said. “He was involved in wild turkey restoration in the state almost from the beginning of the restoration program. His planning and work on the ground have provided Massachusetts turkey hunters with untold numbers of days afield.”
Cardoza has a number of publications to his credit in ornithological journals and is considered to be a wealth of knowledge on many conservation-related subjects. Cardoza joined the Northeast Wild Turkey Technical Committee in 1970 and served as its chair for 13 years. During his tenure as chair of the committee (now known as the Northeast Upland Game Bird Committee) the group completed many technical bulletins providing information for future generations of wildlife biologists. He also served on the National Wild Turkey Technical Committee from the late 1970’s through his retirement.
The 2010 NWTF National Convention and Sport Show, sponsored in part by MidwayUSA and themed “Live the Tradition – Conserve. Hunt. Share.,” is giving credit where credit is due: to the thousands of volunteers who work to progress the NWTF’s mission on a daily basis so future generations can live the tradition of hunting and enjoying the outdoors.
To learn more about the NWTF’s National Convention and Sport Show, visit www.nwtf.org or call (800) THE-NWTF.
2010 Convention Sponsors:
Affinity4, ATK/Federal Premium Ammunition, Bank of America, Bass Pro Shops, Benelli, Browning, Call Makers and Collectors Association of America, CamoFX, Chevrolet, Farm Service Agency, Foxy Huntress, Gaylord Opryland Resort and Convention Center, HuntVe, Knight Rifles, Leupold & Stevens, Marlin Firearms Company, MeadWestvaco, MidwayUSA, Nashville Convention and Visitors Bureau, National Band & Tag Co., O.F. Mossberg & Sons, Inc., Mossy Oak and The Pursuit Channel, The Outdoor Connection, Remington Arms Company, Inc., SHE Outdoor Apparel, TriStar Sporting Arms, USDA Forest Service, Weatherby, Inc., Wild Turkey Bourbon, Winchester Division/Olin Corp.
About the NWTF: The National Wild Turkey Federation is a nonprofit conservation organization that works daily to further its mission of conserving the wild turkey and preserving our hunting heritage.
Through dynamic partnerships with state, federal and provincial wildlife agencies, the NWTF and its more than 350,000 members have helped restore wild turkey populations across the country, spending more than $306 million to conserve 14 million acres of habitat for all types of wildlife.
The Federation works to increase interest in the outdoors by bringing new hunters and conservationists into the fold through outdoor education events and its outreach programs – Women in the Outdoors, Wheelin’ Sportsmen, JAKES and Xtreme JAKES.
The NWTF was founded in 1973 and is headquartered in Edgefield, S.C. According to many state and federal agencies, the comeback of the wild turkey is arguably the greatest conservation success story in North America’s wildlife history.
Visit www.nwtf.org or call (800) THE-NWTF for details.