Over the years, Jim Maturen has worked tirelessly to draw special attention to the needs of our natural resources. He is a regular attendee at most compartment reviews presented by the MDNR and US Forest Service, and may best be known for his devoted efforts to address the needs of the wild turkey in Michigan. These efforts to challenge agency personnel and other natural resource stakeholders have played a significant role in addressing the needs of one of Michigan’s more prominent wildlife success stories.
This past spring, he along with many others, celebrated the 25th Year Anniversary of the popular Michigan Wild Turkey Hunters Rendezvous Workshop held the last weekend in March at the Baldwin High School.
Jim and other MWTHA supporters long ago recognized that wild turkeys would only survive here in Michigan if they were fed throughout the winter. Jim may or may not be the first to coin the phrase “it’s a fed turkey or it’s a dead turkey”. But, he along with MWTHA supporters adopted this theme and through their efforts annually raises thousands of dollars to provide supplemental feed to get our wild turkeys through the toughest winters.
Through the course of any given year, it wouldn’t be uncommon for Jim to appear at an outdoor show in Traverse City one weekend and Grand Rapids the next to raise awareness to the needs of the wild turkey. In addition, he is a frequent presenter in classrooms and at Rural Education Days, which has become one of the more popular sessions enjoyed by our youth.
Jim’s passion and love of the outdoors go well beyond the torch he carries for the wild turkey. While serving as an Osceola County Commissioner from 1993 to 2002, his commitment to our natural resources led Cedar Township officials to name their forest the “Maturen Nature Area”. To this day, he still serves as an at-large member to the Osceola County Parks Commission.
This year’s award was presented to Jim at the Conservation District’s annual meeting on September 30, 2011, at the Paris Park Fish Hatchery and was open to the public.