Michael Widner of Conway, Ark., earned the National Wild Turkey Federation’s prestigious Wayne Bailey Lifetime Achievement Award for his lifetime of commitment to conservation.

Widner accepted the award during the NWTF’s 35th annual National Convention and Sport Show in Nashville, Tenn. MidwayUSA was the official show sponsor.

“I am humbled just to have my name mentioned in the same sentence as Wayne Bailey,” said Widner. “It was an exciting time and I count myself fortunate that I was heavily involved in wild turkey restoration. Learning how to put wild turkeys back on the landscape and how to sustainably manage them was the best job a person could ask for.”

A recently retired biologist for the Arkansas Game and Fish Commission, Widner received the award to honor his 36 consecutive years of conservation work that played an important part in the amazing resurgence of the wild turkey population in North America.

“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. “Michael’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.”

Widner has a long history of collaboration with the NWTF. He served as Arkansas’ NWTF Technical Committee representative for 15 years and worked with the Arkansas NWTF board of directors to implement hundreds of Hunting Heritage State Super Fund habitat and management projects, with more than $1.5 million spent on those projects by the NWTF. He even attended one of the very first Hunting Heritage Super Fund banquets in Arkansas.

The NWTF 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 members have helped restore wild turkey populations across the country, spending more than $331 million to conserve 15.9 million acres of habitat for all types of wildlife.

2011 Convention Sponsors

MidwayUSA – Official Sponsor

Academy Sports and Outdoors, Bass Pro Shops, Bank of America, Benelli USA, Browning-USRAC, Call Makers and Collectors Association of America, Chevrolet, Federal Premium Ammunition, Gaylord Opryland Resort and Convention Center, HuntVe, Marlin Firearms Company, Mossberg & Sons Inc., Nashville Convention and Visitors Bureau, Nationwide, The Outdoor Connection Inc., Remington Arms Company Inc., Rivers Edge Treestands, SHE Outdoor Apparel, U.S. Sportsmen’s Alliance, Weatherby Inc., Wild Turkey Bourbon, Winchester/Olin Corporation