As summer gives way to autumn, my spirits brighten. I love the cooler temperatures, the shorter days and the first fire in the fireplace. And, as the foliage turns from emerald to the brilliant hues of fall, I love to see the fruits of the year’s labor begin to fill the bins and pantry. Autumn also marks the start of a new fiscal year at the NWTF. It’s a time to review the results of the past year’s work, take stock of what we have in our own pantry and make plans for the year ahead.
At the NWTF, as we start the new fiscal year, we do so with full bins. The branches we pruned a year ago have allowed strength and vitality to flow to the remaining limbs of the NWTF, and they are bearing good fruit. We have seen growth in our NWTF events, our event membership, our event income, our conservation delivery and in the results of our investment in Hunter Recruitment, Retention and Reactivation. Our partners — corporate, government and financial — are steadfast and confident. The NWTF harvest has been a good one, and there are many reasons, but the most important is you. NWTF volunteers rose to the challenges of the past year and helped put us back on solid financial footing. Together, we face a bright future. Thank you!
However, if we want to leave the legacy we desire, we must continue to look for ways to be more effective and efficient in the days ahead. We must be willing to learn and try different approaches to reach a broader audience of potential members, supporters and partners. We must find new ways to engage them in the NWTF, and we must earn their trust and be committed to furthering our mission beyond what we have done previously. Some of these new ways will be more successful than others; some may be a little uncomfortable at first. But together, we will learn and we will grow. By continuing to build strong partnerships and support, we will accomplish even more for the conservation of the wild turkey and the preservation of our hunting heritage in the years to come.
In fact, we’ve already begun. In late July, we received word that the USDA Natural Resources Conservation Service has decided to invest $5 million in an on-the-ground “National Forestry Initiative” through the NWTF. This grant will allow us to hire 18 additional forestry staff members and extend funding for six current employees in key focal landscapes across the country to complete thousands of acres of habitat work. The NRCS’ trust in the NWTF reflects the commitment that you, our volunteers, have made to our organization. I am proud of our new growth and look forward to even greater growth ahead.
This autumn, I pray that each of you find time to go afield with family and friends — enjoy the bounty of the season, follow your favorite hunting dog across a field or woods, and fill your own pantry with God’s bounty in the days ahead.
Thank you for the harvest of this past fiscal year!
— Becky Humphries, NWTF CEO