FoundersGB250

South Carolina Congressman Gresham Barrett (l-r) congratulates NWTF founder Tom Rodgers at a special ceremony hosted by NWTF CEO George Thornton at the NWTF’s Winchester Museum Saturday, Aug. 9, 2008.

EDGEFIELD, S.C.— U.S. Congressman Gresham Barrett attended a special ceremony at the National Wild Turkey Federation headquarters in Edgefield, S.C., on Saturday, Aug. 9 to honor NWTF founder Tom Rodgers.

Barrett, who represents South Carolina’s 3rd Congressional District, also toured the NWTF’s Winchester Museum. The Winchester Museum is the only museum in the world dedicated exclusively to the wild turkey, and Barrett played a significant role in securing funds for its construction.

“Each year, the Winchester Museum entertains and educates more than 10,000 visitors and is filled with one-of-a-kind artifacts, world-class taxidermy, fun games and interactive multimedia exhibits,” said Barrett. “Had it not been for the original vision of Tom Rodgers 35 years ago, none of this would be here. Today, we honor a man who helped write one of the greatest chapters in conservation history.”

The NWTF’s Winchester Museum also lies in the heart of South Carolina’s National Heritage Corridor, a 14-county pathway that offers tourists and residents alike a cross section of the Palmetto State’s vibrant historical, cultural and natural resources.

“The NWTF’s museum is one of the finest museums in the state and the programs conducted not only on site, but through the Federation’s outreach efforts are of the highest quality,” said Michelle McCollum, executive director for the South Carolina National Heritage Corridor. “There’s no question that the entire state benefits economically, socially and environmentally from the NWTF.”

The Winchester Museum is just one aspect of the NWTF’s conservation mission. To date, the NWTF has raised and spent more than $279 million upholding hunting traditions and conserving more than 13.9 million acres of wildlife habitat.

At the ceremony, former NWTF board member Allen Jenkins reflected on the progress that has been made by the Federation, and the accomplishments to come.

“Tom Rodgers is the man who turned a bold idea into reality,” said Jenkins. “I joined the NWTF as a life member and remain so today. It’s amazing how far we’ve come. I’m here today not only to congratulate a great friend, but also to celebrate the past and look forward to the NWTF’s bright future.”