It’s time to talk turkeys: Design contest underway

MARQUETTE — With Thanksgiving right around the corner, November is a great time to talk about wild turkeys.

The comeback of the wild turkey is one of the greatest wildlife conservation stories. At one time in Michigan’s history, turkeys were very plentiful, although over time they vanished from every county in the state because of unregulated take and loss of habitat.

Many efforts to re-establish the population were made from 1919 through late 1980s.

Today, there are over 200,000 wild turkeys in Michigan, and they can be found in parts of every county in the Lower Peninsula as well as areas of the Upper Peninsula.

The Michigan Department of Natural Resources works with the National Wild Turkey Federation to share conservation education opportunities with teachers and students. One such opportunity is the annual Michigan Wild Turkey Management Cooperator Patch Design Contest.

K-12 students attending public, private or home schools in Michigan are eligible to enter. First-, second- and third-place winners will receive cash awards of $100, $50 and $25, respectively.

The winning design will be the basis for the following year’s Michigan wild turkey management cooperator patch.

In addition, the winner and his/her parents or guardians will be invited to the Michigan National Wild Turkey Federation State Chapter banquet and the Natural Resources Commission meeting when the patch is released to the public.

Designs should be simple and unique, and easily reproduced as a patch. The design should include the eastern wild turkey or characteristics of the turkey, such as feathers or tracks). All entries must be submitted on 8.5-inch by 11-inch paper and submitted without mat, glass, frame, or cover sheet, which includes spray chalk with fixative.

The following text must be included in the patch design:

“Wild Turkey Management Cooperator”

“2017” (the year following contest submission)

“Michigan Department of Natural Resources”

All 2017 entries should be mailed to: Turkey Patch Contest, P.O. Box 8, Orleans, MI 48865, and must be received no later than Dec. 15.

For complete contest rules, visit mi.gov/michiganprojectwild and scroll to the bottom of the page. Teachers can find additional wild turkey information and resources at mi.gov/turkey and at nwtf.org.