James Earl Kennamer, Ph.D.(left), was recently promoted by NWTF CEO George Thornton (right) to NWTF’s first Chief Conservation Officer
EDGEFIELD, S.C. — James Earl Kennamer, Ph.D., has been named Chief Conservation Officer for the National Wild Turkey Federation.
The announcement reflects both the importance of conservation to the NWTF and the commitment that Dr. Kennamer has shown toward the NWTF and conservation.
Kennamer has spent 28 years at the helm of the NWTF’s conservation programs department working with wildlife agencies to restore wild turkey populations in the United States and Canada. Before coming to the NWTF, Kennamer was a tenured professor of wildlife biology at Auburn University.
“I’ve worked with only a few people during my career who I would call exceptional, and James Earl is one of them,” said NWTF CEO George Thornton during the announcement at the Winter Sales Meeting. “His commitment to conservation and the National Wild Turkey Federation is unparalleled in the conservation world.”
Kennamer, who held the title of NWTF senior vice president for conservation programs, was surprised by the announcement.
“This is a tremendous honor for me and completely unexpected,” said an emotional Dr. Kennamer. “It’s an honor to work with such a committed group of conservationists and volunteers at the NWTF .”
Kennamer has played a key role in forging the partnerships between hunters and wildlife agencies, corporations and conservation groups, which have helped restore turkey populations across North America. His dedicated work with wildlife agencies has made a difference, moving turkey populations from 1.3 million in 1973 to more than 7 million today.
“We understand the importance of conservation to our members,” Thornton said. “This promotion reflects the absolute importance of conservation to the Federation. We will continue this commitment to conservation, which will enable us to continue our hunting heritage and pass on our traditions to the next generation.”
Kennamer is no stranger to receiving recognition for his conservation work. Earlier this year, he was honored in Outdoor Life magazine’s first annual top 25 list of people who have positively affected our hunting and fishing traditions. He was also selected as the recipient of the 2008 Alumni Fellow for the College of Forest Resources at Mississippi State University.
In 2006, Kennamer was awarded the highly coveted Henry S. Mosby award at the ninth National Wild Turkey Symposium; in 2005, he was honored with the Wildlife Management Institute’s Distinguished Service Award and a Lifetime Achievement Award from the South Carolina Chapter of The Wildlife Society; and in 2004, he received special recognition from the U.S. Forest Service.
In 1997, he received the C.W. Watson Award, the highest honor to be bestowed by the Southeastern Association of Fish and Wildlife Agencies, Southern Division of the American Fisheries Society and Southeastern Section of The Wildlife Society for Distinguished Service in Wildlife Research and Administration. Also in 1997, he received the President’s Award from the Association of Fish and Wildlife Agencies.