NWTF's Mississippi State Chapter Announces 2009 Funding
MISSISSIPPI - The National Wild Turkey Federation's (NWTF) Mississippi chapters budgeted $108,700 from the state Hunting Heritage Super Fund to invest in outreach, education, conservation, increased public land access and more within Mississippi in 2009.
The NWTF is a national nonprofit conservation organization that was founded in 1973 and has worked with wildlife agencies to restore wild turkey populations from 1.3 million wild turkeys to nearly 7 million today. Now, NWTF volunteers raise funds and work daily to improve critical wildlife habitat, increase access to public hunting land and introduce new people to the outdoors and hunting.
The NWTF Super Fund is administered jointly by the NWTF, its state and provincial chapters and wildlife agencies, and supports conservation and education programs. Since 1985, NWTF chapters in Mississippi have raised and spent nearly $1.5 million on wildlife habitat enhancements, land purchases, education, outreach and more within the state. NWTF chapters and cooperating partners across North America have raised and spent more than $279 million upholding hunting traditions and conserving nearly 14 million acres of wildlife habitat.
"The Mississippi State Chapter is dedicated to improving land access and wildlife habitat, and is backing up their commitment with the funds to make needed changes," said James Earl Kennamer, Ph.D., NWTF's senior vice president of conservation programs. "By directing dollars to land access and wildlife habitat improvements, and strengthening outreach and education programs, the Mississippi State Chapter is helping enhance habitat for all kinds of wildlife while making a better outdoor experience, not just for hunters - but for everyone."
Hunters are important to the state's economy, too. The Congressional Sportsmen's Foundation reports that Mississippi hunters spend $563 million and 6 million days afield pursuing their sport each year.
The NWTF's Mississippi State Board of Directors dedicated $108,700 to accomplish Hunting Heritage Super Fund projects in 2009. The targeted projects approved by the Mississippi State Chapter Super Fund Committee include:
* $43,700 allocated to uphold outdoor traditions through the NWTF's JAKES (Juniors Acquiring Knowledge, Ethics and Sportsmanship), Women in the Outdoors and Wheelin' Sportsmen outreach programs, educational programs, scholarships for youth, the 4-H Shooting Sports Program and the National Archery in the Schools Program.
* $10,000 allocated to fund a position for the Mississippi NWTF Regional Biologist, who works in Mississippi to secure grants and other outside funding for habitat enhancements and hunting heritage projects within the state.
* $9,700 allocated to protect wild turkeys and other wildlife through support of state sponsored reward programs, reward payments, the printing of reward signs and purchase of 50 digital cameras for use by Mississippi Department of Wildlife, Fisheries and Parks (MDWFP).
* Project partner: Mississippi Wildlife Federation (matches reward funding)
* $17,500 allocated to help NWTF members purchase seed, which will be planted to benefit wildlife on private lands statewide through the NWTF's Seed Subsidy Program.
* $15,700 allocated to complete projects to improve wildlife habitat on public lands including:
Copiah County WMA
O'Keefe WMA in Quitman County
Malmaison WMA in Grenada County
Marion County WMA
Yockanookany WMA in Attala County
Project partner: Mississippi Department of Wildlife, Fisheries and Parks (MDWFP)
* $7,500 allocated to help fund gobbling activity research, which will be conducted by Mississippi State University. Researchers will study gobbling activity from February until early July and the findings will help the Mississippi Department of Wildlife, Fisheries and Parks (MDWFP) make decisions regarding turkey hunting season dates.
Project partner: NWTF Greater Jackson Chapter
* $1,000 allocated to help support the American Hunting Heritage Fund and the Wildlife Legislative Fund of America.
About the NWTF: In 1973, Tom Rodgers founded the National Wild Turkey Federation in Fredericksburg, Va., as a national 501©(3) nonprofit conservation and education organization with a mission dedicated to conserving wild turkeys and preserving hunting traditions. Shortly thereafter, Rodgers relocated the NWTF to Edgefield, S.C., where it's still headquartered today.
At the time NWTF was established, there were only 1.3 million wild turkeys. Today that number stands at more than seven million birds throughout North America, thanks to the efforts of state, federal and provincial wildlife agencies, the NWTF and its members and partners.
Growth and progress define the NWTF as it has expanded from 1,300 members in 1973 to nearly a half million today. With that growth has come impressive strides in wildlife management as the NWTF has forged dynamic partnerships across the country to further its conservation mission. Together, the NWTF's partners, sponsors and grassroots members have raised and spent more than $279 million upholding hunting traditions and conserving nearly 14 million acres of wildlife habitat.
While wild turkey restoration is nearing completion, the NWTF still has much work to do. Across North America, supporters are working to enhance habitat for wild turkeys and other wildlife while providing hunters with more opportunities and access to public and private land. In addition, NWTF volunteers and partners are introducing youth, women and people with disabilities to the outdoors through special educational events.
If you would like to become a member of Team NWTF, join a committee or start a chapter, please visit our Web site at http://www.nwtf.org or call us at 800-THE-NWTF.
Shannon Coggin at (803) 637-3106
Jeff "Jesse" James - Owner of Jesse's Hunting & Outdoors
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