January, 2006

NCLVI Fellow Selected for Educator of the Year Award in Conservation

Influencing the lives of future generations is a daily occurrence for teachers across the nation, yet they never seem to get the recognition they deserve. Knowing this, the National Wild Turkey Federation (NWTF) applauds educators for teaching the importance of conservation to students.

The NWTF's Conservation Educator of the Year Award program acknowledges outstanding teachers who demonstrate innovative teaching techniques using the Wild About Turkey Education Box.

Each year, three teachers receive a plaque and a grant from the NWTF to fund a conservation education project for the following year.

"Teaching students to appreciate the outdoors is important to continue America's time honored conservation history," said Christine Rolka, NWTF education coordinator. "Through our Wild About Turkey Education boxes, students learn about conservation and the amazing comeback story of the wild turkey."

The 2005 NWTF Conservation Educators of the Year are:

  • First Place: Tiffany Wild, Donnelson Middle School in Nashville, Tenn., $1,000 Grant Winner.
  • Second Place: Corinne Dalton, Emery High School in Castle Dale, Utah, $750 Grant Winner.
  • Third Place: Juanita Hollinghead, Leakesville Junior High School in Leakesville, Miss., $250 Grant Winner.

First-place winner Tiffany Wild adapted the NWTF's Wild About Turkey Education Box for her blind and visually impaired students as part of her Masters of Special Education at Vanderbilt University. She used Braille, large print and hands-on activities, including pelts, skulls and turkey calls to teach her students about conservation, wildlife and wildlife habitat.

Wild is also working with the NWTF to expand her prototype for other teachers that work with blind and visually impaired students.

"Wild's visionary idea will provide opportunities to children who need to touch to learn the intricate details in wildlife," Rolka said.

Dalton, the second-place winner, incorporated the Wild About Turkey Education Box into her animal science curriculum and involved the U.S. Forest Service and local NWTF chapters in her classes. Dalton's class also participated in a wild turkey release and tracked the birds' movements and survival with radio transmitters.

Hollinghead used the education box in her English classes and also used the wild turkey as the theme to teach several different writing skills including newspaper stories using wild turkey facts.

"The history of the wild turkey, identifying habitat, feeding habits, development stages and the role hunters played in restoring the wild turkey are important for teachers to relay to their students," said Rob Keck, NWTF CEO. "Students need to know that hunters are the greatest conservationists."

The NWTF's Wild About Turkey Education Box provides teachers with materials that tell the story of the wild turkey's restoration in an exciting and colorful way. These materials help educators teach students about wildlife, natural history, biology and conservation.

The education box is a scaled replica of the turkey transport box used by wildlife agencies. Inside, the box is filled with teaching tools including complete set of multi-curriculum lesson plans, a full-color bulletin board kit, an entertaining video and multimedia CD/ROM, a poster, reference material and keepsakes for the students.

Since 1999, NWTF local chapters have donated almost 20,000 Wild About Turkey Education boxes and reached more than 2 million schoolchildren with the story of the wild turkey.

For more information about the NWTF, its 2005 Educators of the Year winners or Wild About Turkey Boxes, call (800) THE-NWTF.