Retired Alabama Division of Wildlife and Freshwater Fisheries (WFF) wildlife biologist Ron Eakes has been awarded the National Wild Turkey Foundation (NWTF) Wayne Bailey Lifetime Achievement Award for his lifelong commitment to conservation. Eakes accepted the award during the NWTF’s 36th annual National Convention and Sport Show in Nashville, Tenn.

Eakes, who retired in 2011, received the award in honor of his 27 years of conservation work, which helped restore wild turkey populations in North America.

“I was floored to even be considered for this award,” Eakes told the NWTF. “For 40 years I have been studying conservation, volunteering for conservation projects or participating on a professional level. Being honored with this award for simply following my passion means the world to me.”

“Wayne Bailey was known to many as the godfather of modern turkey management and was a key player in the development of the NWTF,” said James Earl Kenammer, Ph.D., NWTF’s chief conservation officer. “Ron’s work is the embodiment of what Wayne Bailey stood for and he truly deserves this honor. The NWTF could ask for no better partner.”

Before his retirement, Eakes served on the NWTF Technical Committee for 15 years and worked with the Alabama NWTF board of directors on a range of projects. Eakes also played an important role in the acquisition of public hunting lands by the Alabama Department of Conservation and Natural Resources (ADCNR) and the Alabama State Chapter of the NWTF, which purchased 22,000 acres for public use over a 10-year period.

The NWTF is a nonprofit conservation organization that works daily to further its mission of conserving the wild turkey, upland habitat and preserving America’s hunting heritage.

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