A Message from George Thornton, NWTF CEO
A greater meaning
We use the phrase "hunting heritage" when talking about ensuring our privilege to hunt is passed on to future generations. Yet there really isn't a simple dictionary definition to explain it. Hunting heritage is more of a deep-rooted feeling. Just like hunting is more than the act of pursuing game -- it is a lifestyle.
It's a lifestyle with values that can only be taught through enduring the many small victories and losses that come with each season. It's learning respect for our God-given natural resources from the land itself. It's a concern for our current and future quality of life. Hunting is a vehicle that bridges generational gaps and brings loved ones together.
The NWTF is working to preserve the hunting lifestyle through our Save the Habitat. Save the Hunt. initiative. We're doing this by creating and nurturing the next generation of hunters and opening access to more land for hunting.
It's easy to get caught up in the excitement of hunting, because, frankly, it's fun. But just as important to our hunting lifestyle is conservation. We must be equally committed to conserving and enhancing land that promises to deliver the most positive impact for wildlife.
Both parts of our mission -- conserving the wild turkey and preserving our hunting heritage -- must work together for us to be successful in saving habitat, saving the hunt and saving our lifestyle.
Most of you are aware we are making a significant investment in the shooting sports with the construction of the Palmetto Shooting Complex at the NWTF. We are going to great detail to ensure we have a world-class facility to teach basic shooting skills and build competency on the range as well as in the field.
However, our goals with this facility are two-fold. We're investing just as much in outdoor education.
As trap houses are being built and parking lots paved, we're also busy cultivating food plots, constructing wildlife observation decks and reclaiming wetlands to create a center that demonstrates wildlife, habitat and forestry management at its best.
Hands-on education programs will make this place the hub of learning, which will be realized through day camps for youth and families, hunter education training, graduate and undergraduate internships. The possibilities go on and on.
Our vision is to have the premier hunting heritage and outdoor education center in the country by the end of the decade. We're further opening the doors of the NWTF with the end result of working together to save the habitat and save the hunt.
Each phase, each building, each activity will help save our lifestyle by encouraging and demonstrating all aspects of the North American Model of Wildlife Conservation -- shooting, hunting, habitat management, volunteer recruitment and education.
Save the Habitat. Save the Hunt. is solving a problem that's much bigger than one organization. It's about helping an industry find a solution to save itself.
The Palmetto Shooting Complex at the NWTF and outdoor education center is meant to serve as an incubator, or testing ground, for programming and practices that enable us as an industry to better accomplish our goals of creating new hunters, better shooters and more informed conservationists.
The shooting complex is what we see now. We can fixate on brick and mortar, or question how many people will pass through its gates in a given year, but our mission is more than that.
The thousands of people who will come through this facility are one thing, but what makes this place so special is the thousands more who are impacted by program development that came from this facility.
When you share the NWTF story, share that we are a robust organization that is not only enjoying the fruits of our hard work up to today, we're actively investing in tomorrow.
Today is when we lay the foundation for our hunting heritage.
George Thornton, NWTF CEO