The National Wild Turkey Federation announced Dec. 11 the continued expansion of its Operation Oak Program.

A partnership between the Natural Resources Conservation Service and the NWTF has made 15,000 oak seedlings available free to private landowners in North Carolina. These native seedlings are grown under a specialized nursery protocol at the Flint River Nursery in Georgia. The result of this nursery protocol is a large, vigorous seedling with high survivability, high growth potential, and the potential to produce mast in approximately 10 years.

This tree-planting program provides long-term habitat for wild turkeys and other wildlife.

Private landowners interested in participating in the free program must be or become a member of the National Wild Turkey Federation ($30 annual fee).

NWTF staff will review all applications and provide seedlings to as many interested landowners as possible.

These bare-root seedlings have extensive root systems and will require post-hole diggers or an auger for planting.

Participants will be required to pick up their seedlings from a centralized location in the state. These sites and dates will be determined and announced before trees are available in January or February. Most seedling loads will fit in a truck bed.

NWTF members or those interested in joining NWTF to receive free seedlings must complete an application form and mail, e-mail or fax it back to the attention of: Kay Morris, Operation Oak, P.O. Box 530, Edgefield, SC 29824,, fax (803) 637-9180. 

Applications must be received in Edgefield on or before Dec. 15, 2008.

To receive application forms or for more information call Kay Morris at 803-637-7536 or 800-637-3106 Ext. 7536.