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NWTF Announces JAKES Essay Contest Winner


LENOIR, N.C.     The National Wild Turkey Federation has named 13-year-old Atlanta Blair of Lenoir, N.C., its 2009 JAKES program essay contest winner.

The NWTF's JAKES (Juniors Acquiring Knowledge, Ethics and Sportsmanship) program is dedicated to helping youth discover a new world of fun waiting for them in the outdoors.  Hundreds of youth-only events are held across North America each year to help youth up to age 12 learn about hunting, fishing, camping, archery and more.  The NWTF's Xtreme JAKES program provides advanced outdoor opportunities and challenges for teens between the ages of 13 and 17.

Blair's essay, titled "How Would My Life Be Different If Hunting Was Not A Part Of It?" was selected from many other well-written essays submitted by youth from across the United States and Canada.  Blair, an A-honor roll student at Gamewell Middle School in Lenoir, will receive a Kansas hunting license and an all-expenses-paid trip to El Dorado, Kansas, for the 23rd annual Kansas Governor's One-Shot Turkey Hunt this April.

Blair's license will be awarded during a special ceremony at the NWTF's 33rd annual Convention and Sport Show, held Feb. 19 to Feb. 22 at the Gaylord Opryland Resort and Convention Center in Nashville, Tenn.

"Choosing a winner from so many great essays was tough, but we felt that Atlanta's essay perfectly captured the responsibility, maturity and discipline that youth gain from hunting," said Mandy Harling, NWTF JAKES program coordinator.  "We're looking forward to rewarding her with a hunt she'll always remember."

Blair immediately picked her father, Wesley, as her chaperone for the hunt.  Wesley has been deployed to Iraq four times, and Blair has looked forward to hunting with him each time he's returned.

"My dad and I love to hunt together," Blair said.  "Having him along is going to make this trip even more fun." 
Former Kansas Governor Mike Hayden developed the hunt to bring key people from various professions to Kansas to experience the natural beauty and business opportunities available in the Sunflower State.

More than 650 volunteers donate their time during the event, including guides, landowners, sponsors and the many people who do the hands-on work.  The Kansas Governor's Annual One-Shot Turkey Hunt has become a nationally recognized event.

To read Atlanta's essay, visit

The NWTF is accepting entries for the 2010 Kansas Governor's One-Shot Turkey Hunt Essay Contest.  To enter, visit

For more information about the NWTF visit or call (800) THE-NWTF.

About the NWTF:  In 1973, Tom Rodgers founded the National Wild Turkey Federation in Fredericksburg, Va., as a national 501(c)(3) nonprofit conservation and education organization with a mission dedicated to conserving wild turkeys and preserving hunting traditions. Shortly thereafter, Rodgers relocated the NWTF to Edgefield, S.C., where it's still headquartered today.
At the time NWTF was established, there were only 1.3 million wild turkeys. Today that number stands at more than seven million birds throughout North America, thanks to the efforts of state, federal and provincial wildlife agencies, the NWTF and its members and partners.

Growth and progress define the NWTF as it has expanded from 1,300 members in 1973 to nearly a half million today. With that growth has come impressive strides in wildlife management as the NWTF has forged dynamic partnerships across the country to further its conservation mission. Together, the NWTF's partners, sponsors and grassroots members have raised and spent more than $286 million upholding hunting traditions and conserving nearly 14 million acres of wildlife habitat.
While wild turkey restoration is nearing completion, the NWTF still has much work to do. Across North America, supporters are working to enhance habitat for wild turkeys and other wildlife while providing hunters with more opportunities and access to public and private land. In addition, NWTF volunteers and partners are introducing youth, women and people with disabilities to the outdoors through special educational events.
If you would like to become a member of Team NWTF, join a committee or start a chapter, please visit our Web site at or call us at 800-THE-NWTF.

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