DNR’s Cooley earns NWTF Conservationist of the Year Award
The Michigan State Chapter of the National Wild Turkey Federation has named Tom Cooley, a 40-year veteran employee with the Michigan Department of Natural Resources Wildlife Division, as Outstanding Conservationist of the Year for 2016.
Cooley is a wildlife pathologist at the DNR Wildlife Disease Laboratory, housed at the Diagnostic Center for Population and Animal Health at Michigan State University. The DNR Wildlife Disease Laboratory is responsible for monitoring the health and well-being of wildlife in Michigan.
Cooley was cited for his “behind-the-scenes” activities associated with the successful restoration of wild turkeys in Michigan. He also was recognized for his continued efforts to monitor wild turkeys for diseases and other issues that could affect the health of Michigan’s wild turkey population.
Al Stewart, upland game bird specialist for the DNR, had high praises for Cooley: “When we were actively involved in our wild turkey restoration efforts, all wild birds that came from out of state or that we provided to other states and Canada had to be tested for disease. Tom was part of the team that helped test each bird. Many times wild-captured birds would arrive at the lab in the evening, get tested during the night and be prepared for release the following morning at a new site. Tom was one of the first people to assist and one of the last biologists to leave during these all-night procedures.”
“This is a testament to his dedication,” Stewart said.