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Together We Stand For Conservation

Did you know the NWTF has had a presence in Washington D.C. for more than two decades? That our leadership and senior staff routinely make visits there to meet with federal agency personnel, members of Congress and congressional staffers?

Our staff has logged thousands of hours educating decision makers on NWTF programs to carry out our mission. We explain to them how we improve wildlife habitat on federal lands or how our members benefit from an array of Farm Bill conservation programs.

We also share with them the economic value of conservation, hunting and the shooting sports. Most members of Congress are urbanites, not exactly a typical NWTF member. Few congressmen and women have a hunting background, therefore time spent educating Capitol Hill is more important than ever. It's critical to our mission.

Persistence, a consistent message and a loud voice make the biggest impact with our lawmakers. While the NWTF's members have a considerably loud voice, imagine the volume when all the leading conservation organizations work together to deliver a consistent message. The NWTF is leading several partnerships to do just that.

American Wildlife Conservation Partners (AWCP)

Prior to the presidential elections of 2000, several like-minded organizations met at the NWTF Wild Turkey Center to discuss the future of wildlife conservation in the United States and the effect of politics on that future. One question was central to the discussion: Given the opportunity, what wildlife related requests would the groups collectively make of a new administration?

AWCP was born from this discussion, with the NWTF as a founding member. The goal of AWCP is to build unity among partner organizations, create a vision for wildlife policy, and collectively address and pursue wildlife conservation related policies with the administration and Congress.

Since the group's inception, it has published three volumes of "Wildlife in the 21st Century" to coincide with each new administration; vol. 4 is in progress. This document outlines the most important issues facing wildlife conservation for the incoming administration.

The 45 partner organizations meet and communicate regularly to share information on pertinent legislation so that groups can weigh in at appropriate times. The NWTF is a leading organization within AWCP, and currently serves on the steering committee.

America's Voice for Conservation, Recreation and Preservation

Federal spending on land, water, ocean and wildlife programs was just 1.26 percent of the federal budget in 2010. Additional cuts will severely cripple our nation's conservation efforts, and do little to balance the budget. To keep conservation funding intact, the NWTF is working with more than 1,100 other conservation, recreation and historical preservation organizations (collectively AVCRP) to educate Congress about the jobs and economic benefits of conservation spending, and to urge Congress to fund conservation at the highest possible level. As a result of our efforts, conservation funding was largely preserved in 2012.

AVCRP continues to be one of the largest and most diverse coalitions in Washington D.C., and is working hard to preserve funding in 2013. The NWTF is proud to serve on the steering committee.

Wildlife and Hunting Heritage Conservation Council

NWTF CEO George Thornton was selected by the President to serve on the Wildlife and Hunting Heritage Conservation Council in 2010. WHHCC is a federal advisory committee that provides recommendations to the agencies responsible for land and wildlife management. It also serves as the sportsmen's voice on policy issues and actions that benefit wildlife and our hunting heritage.

The NWTF's representation on this 18-member council assures your concerns for the future of wildlife, hunting and hunter access are shared directly with the highest levels of U.S. government.

Making a difference

With the Farm Bill up for reauthorization this year, much of the attention of the aforementioned groups is focused on keeping strong conservation and wildlife measures in this legislation. More conservation funding is made available to private landowners through the Farm Bill than through any other single piece of legislation.

The NWTF is the leading conservation voice for forestry practices and active forest management supported in the Farm Bill, and we will continue to champion these programs. We also are leading the conservation community to ensure that stewardship contracting authorities are reauthorized for the USDA Forest Service and the Bureau of Land Management. They currently contribute 25 percent of the timber harvest and active management taking place on national forest lands.

The NWTF has played a key role in the introduction of legislation that will improve hunter access to federal lands, which led to funding for hunter access in the USFS and BLM proposed budgets in 2013.

Our organization is a leading force on Capitol Hill, promoting the conservation message, suggesting sound policy and protecting wildlife and hunting. But we can't do it without you. The next time you receive an action alert asking for your help on an issue, take time to make a call or write a letter.

With your individual voices amplifying the NWTF's message, we really can make a difference.

— by James Earl Kennamer, Ph.D., NWTF Chief Conservation Officer



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