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— Approximately 60,000 acres of wildlife habitat in 11 states will improve thanks to a partnership between American Electric Power and the National Wild Turkey Federation.

AEP, one of America’s largest electric utilities, recently became the newest member of the NWTF’s Energy for Wildlife program. AEP owns the nation’s largest electricity transmission system and serves more than 5 million customers in Arkansas, Indiana, Kentucky, Louisiana, Michigan, Ohio, Oklahoma, Tennessee, Texas, Virginia and West Virginia.

“By becoming an Energy for Wildlife program member, AEP set their organization apart from many other companies in the industry,” said Jay Jordan, NWTF’s Energy for Wildlife coordinator. “They are committed to serving the needs of utility companies to provide safe, reliable energy for their customers, but they go a step further and strive to improve habitat for wildlife.”

Energy for Wildlife is a membership-based certification program for all energy companies and associated industries. The program’s primary goal is to enhance wildlife habitat on company -managed, -owned or -influenced lands. These lands often include power line and gas right of ways, plant sites, forestlands or other properties.

Energy for Wildlife’s 32 members manage more than 3 million acres of wildlife habitat. Managing openings can provide beneficial habitat for many plant and wildlife species, including wild turkeys.

As part of the membership, companies receive guidance from the NWTF’s Energy for Wildlife program staff to integrate wildlife management activities into their land management programs. When participating companies have implemented the wildlife component of their management plans, they become certified members of the program.

As partners, AEP and the NWTF will develop land management plans and food plot planting plans to help landowners enhance property along AEP’s rights of way. AEP also will work to develop tools, programs and educational materials about wildlife habitat and land management, and will host two outreach programs each year through the NWTF’s JAKES (Juniors Acquiring Knowledge, Ethics and Sportsmanship) and Wheelin’ Sportsmen NWTF programs.

Wheelin’ Sportsmen NWTF helps people with disabilities enjoy outdoor activities such as hunting, fishing and shooting through participating in Wheelin’ Sportsmen events and by learning how to continue taking part in these activities independently. AEP currently hosts a Wheelin’ Sportsmen hunting event in Ohio.

The JAKES program gives youth opportunities to explore the outdoors through archery, fishing and shooting at hands-on learning events nationwide. AEP will establish a JAKES event in eastern Texas.

The NWTF is dedicated to the conservation of the wild turkey and the preservation of our hunting heritage. NWTF volunteers raise funds and work daily to improve critical wildlife habitat, increase access to public hunting land and introduce new people to the outdoors and hunting. Through dynamic partnerships with state, federal and provincial wildlife agencies, the NWTF and its members have helped restore wild turkey populations across the country, raised and spent more than $286 million, and conserved nearly 14 million acres of habitat for all types of wildlife.

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

The National Wild Turkey Federation is a national 501(c)(3) nonprofit conservation organization that is dedicated to the conservation of the wild turkey and the preservation of our hunting heritage.

Through dynamic partnerships with state, federal and provincial wildlife agencies, the NWTF and its more than 350,000 members have helped restore wild turkey populations across the country, raised and spent more than $286 million, and conserved nearly 14 million acres of habitat for all types of wildlife.

The Federation also works to increase interest in the outdoors by bringing new hunters and conservationists into the fold through special outdoor education events and its outreach programs - Women in the Outdoors, Wheelin’ Sportsmen, JAKES and Xtreme JAKES.

The NWTF was founded in 1973 and is headquartered in Edgefield, S.C. According to many state and federal agencies, the comeback of the wild turkey is arguably the greatest conservation success story in North America’s wildlife history.

News, Pages 7 on 11/18/2009

Print Headline: AEP, NWTF form partnership to improve more wildlife habitat

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