Landowner of the Year 2001 - Kenny Knowles


Arnett landowner Kenny Knowles was named as the 2001 Landowner Conservationist of the Year by the Oklahoma Department of Wildlife Conservation at the October meeting of the Oklahoma Wildlife Conservation Commission.

Knowles is a third generation farmer and rancher and was presented the award for his outstanding efforts to enhance wildlife habitat on 11,000 acres he owns and manages in Ellis County.

"Numerous pages could be written describing Knowles' lifetime contribution to wildlife and habitat management," said Russ Horton, central region senior biologist for the Wildlife Department. "He realized long ago that sound wildlife management could complement a profitable ranching operation. He has taken a leadership role in promoting multiple species stewardship of the land, with wildlife given the highest priority.

"He now has, and will always have, some of the best wildlife habitat in Ellis County, not as a result of luck, fortune or fate, but rather due to his love for wildlife and his dedication to ensuring that wildlife will always be extended a hearty welcome on all properties he manages.

He is very deserving of recognition for his outstanding, life-long dedication to sound wildlife management on private lands."
Knowles has a very good rotational grazing plan that ensures good wildlife nesting cover, Horton added. He is also in the process of converting 1,500-acres of farm ground to a mixture of native plants that will provide beneficial wildlife habitat.
"I am very honored to be recognized for the work I am doing to help wildlife," Knowles said. "Wildlife has always been a priority for my family and it will continue to be so throughout my lifetime."

An avid angler and hunter, Knowles really enjoyed hunting prairie chickens and his management activities and leadership have played an integral role in prairie chicken restoration efforts.

"He maintains a journal of habitat work and tries to keep records of lesser prairie chickens using his property for habitat use and population information," Horton said. "He has been a huge influence in the local community for wildlife related work. Other landowners are seeing his results and are beginning to take his lead."

Knowles has traveled to Washington, New Mexico and Mexico to share his knowledge, experience and support of the Lesser Prairie Chicken Interstate Working Group with policy makers and other ranchers and conservationists, Horton added. He also has urged neighboring landowners to consider the benefits their land could provide for wildlife.

For more information on the Department’s Landowner of the Year contact private lands biologist at (405) 521-2739.
To be considered for the prestigious award, landowners must demonstrate a commitment to managing their property to provide benefits for wildlife.