HARRISBURG, PA — The National Wild Turkey Federation annually recognizes outstanding contributions in wild turkey management by individuals, agencies and organizations in a variety of categories during the organization’s national convention.
Pennsylvania Game Commission turkey biologist Mary Jo Casalena was recently selected by the NWTF as the recipient of the organization’s Henry S. Mosby Award, which recognizes an outstanding biologist who has contributed to wild turkey management throughout their career or has made a single significant accomplishment in the restoration or management of wild turkeys. Mosby’s research during the mid-1900s set the standard for wild turkey management.
Casalena accepted her award at the NWTF’s 44th Annual Convention and Sport Show in Nashville, Tennessee, on Feb. 15.
“This award is a really big deal,” said Game Commission Executive Director Bryan Burhans. “Mary Jo continues to use the latest technology and techniques to manage this popular big-game species. I’m thrilled to say I was in attendance to see her accept this prestigious award and am proud of her many accomplishments,” he said.
Casalena’s accomplishments as a turkey biologist for the Game Commission are many. Her primary focus has been regulating turkey hunting seasons and bag limits through research to maintain healthy populations in the state. For example, from 2010-14, she and her aides monitored the incubation-initiation dates of turkey hens fitted with satellite-transmitters, which resulted in setting the spring gobbler season opening day as the Saturday closest to May 1 when most of the hens are on the nest.
Casalena, in addition to being a member of her local NWTF chapter the Juniata Gobblers, is actively involved in the National Technical Committee, the Northeast Upland Bird Technical Committee, the Game Commission Wildlife Management Unit 5A Turkey Task Force, and she routinely attends Pa. NWTF meetings to provide updates on harvests, population trends and research.
“I feel extremely honored to receive the Henry S. Mosby Award,” Casalena said. “Never did I imagine I’d be in the ranks of past recipients, many of whom have been my mentors since I became the wild turkey biologist for the Game Commission in 1999. I credit my winning the award to my colleagues at the Game Commission, NWTF and the Pa. Chapter NWTF, who have all worked diligently to advance wild turkey research and management in Pennsylvania with application across the U.S.” she added.
The NWTF said Casalena’s track record with wild turkey management made her truly deserving of the Henry S. Mosby Award.
“We are fortunate to have individuals like Mary Jo who dedicate their lives to the conservation of wildlife and habitat,” NWTF CEO Becky Humphries said. “We are proud to honor her with this award and look forward to her continued support for the wild turkey in Pennsylvania,” she added.
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