Crossville Chronicle, Crossville, TN

Area News

March 3, 2014

Wattenbarger named NWTF Overall Volunteer of the Year

CROSSVILLE — When it comes to furthering the National Wild Turkey Federation mission, there's nothing exceptional volunteer James Wattenbarger can't do. For his hard work at local and state levels, Wattenbarger received a prestigious national award.

Crossville resident Wattenbarger accepted the NWTF Overall Volunteer of the Year Award during the 38th annual NWTF Convention and Sport Show. MidwayUSA was the official show sponsor.

"Everyone in our chapter works together to introduce non-hunters to our sport," Wattenbarger said. "I'm proud of our chapter and humbled to win this award. It was a team effort. More than anything I'm excited about the NWTF's mission and our new Tennessee Xtreme JAKES pro staff. They're setting an example for young people in the outdoor industry and are sure to accomplish great things."

The NWTF determined this year's award winners based on how their work strengthens the organization's new Save the Habitat. Save the Hunt. initiative. Through the Plateau Longbeards Chapter in Crossville, Wattenbarger is active in NWTF's three hunting heritage programs: JAKES, Women in the Outdoors and Wheelin' Sportsmen. Each program introduces new people to conservation and hunting.

In the seven years he's volunteered, Wattenbarger has served as a committee member and hunting heritage program coordinator for his local chapter. With a special interest in introducing young people to the outdoors, he now serves as the state JAKES coordinator for Tennessee. In two years, he assisted five NWTF chapters in starting JAKES programs and has helped increase memberships statewide.

"Complete commitment is James' strong point," said NWTF regional director Charlie Tollett. "He drives countless miles, invests countless dollars and volunteers countless hours to the NWTF. He's an engineer and problem-solver who doesn't let anything stop him from getting more youth, women and people with disabilities involved in NWTF's hunting heritage programs."

The NWTF's Save the Habitat. Save the Hunt. initiative is a charge that mobilizes science, fundraising and devoted volunteers to give the NWTF more energy and purpose than ever. Through this national initiative, NWTF has committed to raising $1.2 billion to conserve and enhance more than 4 million acres of essential upland wildlife habitat, create at least 1.5 million new hunters and open access to 500,000 new acres for hunting, shooting and outdoor enjoyment. Without hunters, there will be no wildlife or habitat. The NWTF is determined to Save the Habitat. Save the Hunt.

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