Merlin C. Becker, of Manawa, received the 2011 Forest Conservationist award from the Wisconsin Wildlife Federation. The award was presented at the annual Conservation Awards Celebration held Saturday, April 9, at the Ramada in Stevens Point.
The Wisconsin Wildlife Federation said of Becker: “He never stops promoting management of natural resources and believes strongly in the concept of stewardship and actively communicates that to others including members of Congress and the state Legislature.”
Becker has a long history of volunteer work locally as well as at the state level. He has served as a charter member and president of the Wisconsin Woodland Owners Association (WWOA) Wolf River Chapter. He served several terms on the Board of Directors of WWOA, as president for two years and is presently serving as treasurer. He is a life member and has received its distinguished service award.
Becker completed the Woodland Leadership Institute course in 2008 and also attended the Wisconsin Coverts training in 1995 and advanced training in 2006. He is also a trained facilitator for the Ties to the Land Program assisting people in transferring property to children.
His property has been designated the Waupaca County demonstration forest by the Golden Sands RC&D project and he presently serves as a voting member on their council. He has been a long time member of the American Tree Farm system and presently serves on their Grass Roots Committee.
Becker hosts field days on his property, doing so in 1992, 2000, 2004, and 2009 to show case his improvements for wildlife and forestry. On his property he has completed timber stand improvements for wildlife habitat, streamside management zone through his property, food plots, prescribed burning and crops for wildlife. His forestland is enrolled in the Managed Forest Law, which guarantees sustainable forestry for 25 years. As president of WWOA, Becker actively campaigned for affiliate membership in WWF, which it now has, and served on its deer study committee and forestry committee.
The Wisconsin Wildlife Federation, founded in 1949, is the state’s oldest citizen-led nonprofit conservation organization. It is composed of individuals, students, environmental groups, hunting, fishing, trapping and shooting clubs, corporations and 169 affiliated statewide organizations totaling over 125,000 persons.
The Federation speaks to all outdoor issues. Its broad objectives are to create and encourage awareness among Wisconsinites of the need of wise use and proper management of those resources upon which the lives and welfare of all people depend – the soils, water, plant life, minerals, air, wildlife and fisheries.