The Michigan Ruffed Grouse Society and American Woodcock Society Habitat Committee recently honored the dedication and passion that Al Stewart has for young forest wildlife conservation by presenting him with an award at the Annual RGS State Workshop February 2, 2019. The RGS State Drummer Fund, the only program dedicated solely to ruffed grouse and American woodcock habitat enhancement, has now been named the Al Stewart Drummer Fund. A portion of proceeds from each RGS chapter event go toward the Drummer Fund each year, and partners are invited to submit habitat project proposals which are then reviewed and approved by the Habitat Committee. This program has seen resounding success, and funds were leveraged to fund over $450,000 in wildlife habitat projects in 2018.
“This recognition is well deserved! Al Stewart is literally an institution, a biologist with a legendary and international reputation as a grouse and woodcock expert,” stated DNR Wildlife Division Chief Russ Mason.
Stewart’s career has spanned well over four decades in Michigan wildlife management. He has been the state’s upland gamebird specialist for close to 20 years and is now program leader. His contributions to young forest wildlife are global, having accomplished milestones on a national and international level.
“Al has successfully coordinated numerous grassroots-based conservation organizations to become engaged in enhancing and creating upland game bird habitat, including young forest. Al has coordinated research efforts, working groups and future management directions critical for young forest habitat. He has been a champion for RGS, NWTF, PF, and numerous other organizations throughout the state. RGS wanted to take the time to recognize the lifetime of hard work that he has put in to ensure that the future of upland game bird habitat and young forest habitat stays its course and is available for the next generation of upland hunters. Al has been a mentor to me throughout my entire career, and I am thrilled to continue to foster a strong partnership between MDNR and RGS” said RGS Wildlife Biologist Heather Shaw.
Scott Grush, Regional Director for the Ruffed Grouse Society has touted Al as being “incredibly supportive of the organization and its mission while participating in numerous organizational activities and events throughout the year. His dedication to grouse and woodcock are unmatched.”
Established in 1961, the Ruffed Grouse Society is North America’s foremost conservation organization dedicated to preserving sporting traditions by creating healthy forest habitat for ruffed grouse, American woodcock and other young forest dependent wildlife while utilizing and supporting sound scientific management.