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Will Gulsby, wildlife professor in the CFWE, awarded Alabama Wildlife Federation Governor’s Conservation Achievement Award

By August 7, 2023August 15th, 2023No Comments

Will Gulsby, associate professor of wildlife ecology and management in the College of Forestry, Wildlife and Environment at Auburn University and Marcus Lashley, associate professor of wildlife ecology and conservation at the University of Florida were jointly awarded the Conservation Communicator of the Year Award during the 2023 Alabama Wildlife Federation Governor’s Conservation Achievement Awards banquet for their podcast “Wild Turkey Science.” 

The Alabama Wildlife Federation (AWF), in conjunction with Alabama Power Company and PowerSouth Energy, co-sponsored the event which took place on Friday, August 4, 2023, at The Marriott Legends at Capitol Hill in Prattville. Governor Kay Ivey commended the awardees through an exclusive congratulatory video prepared for the occasion.

Gulsby and Lashley, researchers and turkey hunting enthusiasts, teamed up early this year to develop their podcast. “Wild Turkey Science” endeavors to provide impartial, data-supported insights regarding the ecology and management of wild turkeys. Gulsby and Lashley routinely involve active experts engaged in wild turkey research in their discussion, allowing them to articulate their discoveries authentically—a refreshing method for landowners, land managers and turkey hunters.  

“It’s been a little over a year since Marcus and I decided to partner on what was originally his vision,” Gulsby said. “We decided then that we would do our best to share the science on wild turkeys, without bias, even if it meant we’d face criticism. There’s much work left to do, but it’s so nice to take a moment to celebrate this award and the feeling of validation that it brings.” 

Since its debut in January, Gulsby and Lashley have crafted 39 episodes of the podcast, amassing over 200,000 downloads. “Wild Turkey Science” is the highest rated podcast on wild turkey subject matter and spent time as the #3 podcast in the science category rankings on Apple Podcasts. 

“Wild Turkey Science” serves as a driving force behind new and extended research initiatives, positioned to advance the overall understanding of wild turkeys, their management, and the preservation of thriving populations for the benefit of future generations. 

“Receiving this award demonstrates Dr. Gulsby’s exceptional dedication to conservation research. His work on the podcast, ‘Wild Turkey Science,’ exemplifies his skill as a researcher and instructor, actively contributing novel approaches to the field of wildlife conservation.” said Janaki Alavalapati, the Emmett F. Thompson Dean of the College of Forestry, Wildlife and Environment. 

(Written by Allison Killingsworth)

Photo: Presenting the awards were Chris Blankenship, Conservation Commissioner; Steve Forehand, AWF President; Horace Horn with PowerSouth Energy; and Susan Comensky with Alabama Power Company. Middle left is Will Gulsby and middle right is Marcus Lashley.

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