EDGEFIELD, S.C. — The NWTF honored Joe Foster, NWTF Idaho State Chapter President, with the new Innovation Award for his exceptionally creative strategies and novel approaches that encouraged positive impacts to conservation, outreach and education.
“I am honored to be recognized for innovation by the NWTF Board of Directors,” Foster said. “The NWTF has supported our efforts in providing wild turkey learning for educators, numerous habitat projects and many other activities that help us reach goals while building community through conservation.”
Foster accepted the Innovation Award during the NWTF’s 50th anniversary celebration at its 47th annual NWTF Convention and Sport Show, sponsored by Mossy Oak.
Foster has been an effective leader for the NWTF Idaho State Chapter, bringing people from the panhandle to the Columbia Plateau and the basins and valleys together to expand the mission of the NWTF.
Western states are large, and communities are spread out. Nevertheless, Foster has nurtured a dedicated community of conservationists that are willing to go the distance, both literally and figuratively.
Foster excels in relationship and partnership building and has forged a productive connection with the Idaho Fish and Game. That relationship has led to an array of volunteer, intern and department conservation work.
Foster also built a tree yard in his backyard and gave the NWTF access to take cuttings, surplus and other low-cost tree and shrub stock from a variety of sources and use as needed. Foster’s southeast Idaho tree yard is a 20-by-30-foot, high-fenced space created through Eagle Scout Projects seven years ago. The yard produces over 500 trees each year for habitat projects that benefit all wildlife throughout southeast Idaho. Trees are propagated from locally sourced seed, collected starts and cuttings. Conservative estimated value of annual inventory is $5,000 to $10,000. All maintenance, weeding and watering of the tree yard is provided by volunteers.
Foster’s engagement has set the stage for the NWTF’s success in getting several IDFG Commissioners Community Challenge Grants for the NWTF Pocatello Chapter to perform habitat enhancement projects on the Portneuf, Georgetown and Blackfoot River WMAs to plant trees and shrubs to enhance wildlife habitat.
Foster’s innovative approach to conservation can also be seen in his work in acquiring and implementing the use of water boxes. These boxes increase tree survival, use 90% less water and drastically reduce staff time necessary to establish trees and haul water, which increases the ability to plant trees that benefit wildlife habitat.
Additionally, Foster recently collaborated with IDFG on another innovative idea and was awarded a 2022 IDFG Commissioners Community Challenge Grant to construct a habitat trailer, which will be constructed and used by IDFG and volunteer conservation groups to facilitate habitat field days on local wildlife management areas.
Furthermore, Foster also realizes the importance of having public support for wildlife. The NWTF Idaho State Chapter supports IDFG’s “Wild about Turkeys” Project Wild Workshop. This educator training provides information about turkeys that can be used across educational disciplines, such as teaching social studies, mathematics, language arts, science or outdoor education programs. The NWTF Idaho State Chapter purchases supplemental educational materials for participating educators.
“Having experienced it firsthand, I can say with certainty that all of our members in Idaho are exceptionally thankful for Joe’s efforts,” NWTF co-CEO Kurt Dyroff said. “Joe’s ability to bring folks together for the common good, coupled with his innovative approaches, has expanded our reach at the NWTF. We are proud to honor Joe for his work delivering the NWTF mission.”
About the National Wild Turkey Federation
Since 1973, the National Wild Turkey Federation has invested over half a billion dollars into wildlife conservation and has conserved or enhanced over 22 million acres of critical wildlife habitat. The organization continues to drive wildlife conservation, forest resiliency and robust recreational opportunities throughout the U.S. by working across boundaries on a landscape scale.
2023 is the NWTF’s 50 th anniversary and an opportunity to propel the organization’s mission into the future while honoring its rich history. For its 50 th anniversary, the NWTF has set six ambitious goals: positively impact 1 million acres of wildlife habitat; raise $500,000 for wild turkey research; increase membership to 250,000 members; dedicate $1 million to education and outreach programs; raise $5 million to invest in technology and NWTF’s people; and raise $5 million to build toward a $50 million endowment for the future. Learn how you can help us reach these lofty goals.
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