EDGEFIELD, S.C. — Bass Pro Shops and Cabela’s customers who generously rounded up purchases in stores and online helped the National Wild Turkey Federation complete more than 87,000 acres of conservation work across the Southeast and Central regions in 2020.
Rounding up purchases to the nearest dollar at Bass Pro Shops and Cabela's directly supports the not-for-profit Bass Pro Shops and Cabela's Outdoor Fund, which, in turn, funds grants for outdoor conservation organizations to conduct meaningful habitat and wildlife projects through their mission delivery.
The NWTF has received grants from the Outdoor Fund for several years, and in 2020, a grant of $200,000 helped the NWTF address declining forest health, restore native ecosystems and promote water conservation activities. The NWTF directed these funds to conserve or enhance 87,026 acres.
“Bass Pro Shops and Cabela’s customers have faith that the money raised when they opt to round up their purchases or make larger contributions to the Outdoor Fund are being used responsibly and for a good cause,” said Mark Hatfield, NWTF national director of conservation services. “We want to assure them that the pennies they contribute at checkout add up to make a tremendous contribution toward the health and sustainability of our wildlife and natural resources each year.”
The NWTF put these round-up dollars to work in 26 states by applying them to existing projects as well as pairing them with matching funds to increase the scale of a number of projects.
"Bass Pro Shops and Cabela's is proud to stand beside the National Wild Turkey Federation as its largest and longest-running partner," said Bob Ziehmer, Bass Pro Shops senior director of conservation. "This past year, canceled fundraising events due to the pandemic made it more important than ever to step up for conservation efforts. We’re proud to stand steadfast with our customers in supporting the NWTF. Together, we're making a difference for habitat, wildlife and our outdoor heritage."
Below are a few examples of how the NWTF has put the Bass Pro Shops and Cabela’s Outdoor Fund grant to work benefitting wildlife, water and hunters.
Location: Tuckasegee, North Carolina, Nantahala National Forest
Description: The aim of this project was to improve young forest habitat on more than 6,000 acres at Sugar Creek Gap by removing small trees and shrubs. Workers also used herbicide to treat nonnative invasive plants. The project resulted in quality nesting, foraging and brood habitat for golden-winged warblers, wild turkeys and several other species.
Location: Monroe, Phillips, Woodruff and Crawford counties in Arkansas
Description: This ongoing project focuses on renewing water ecosystems and how water flows within the ecosystem for aquatic and migratory fowl habitat and restores bottomland hardwood timber stands. This project benefits migratory birds, wild turkeys, white-tailed deer, black bears and others.
Location: Mitchell, Indiana, USDA Forest Service lands
Description: These projects are located on the Pleasant Run and Tell City Ranger Districts of the Hoosier National Forest. Work includes habitat improvement activities that restore oak and hickory, enhance wildlife openings, create young forest habitats, improve watersheds and reduce soil erosion. The primary goal is to improve nesting and brood-rearing habitat for wild turkeys, but other species that benefit from this work include northern bobwhite quail, Henslow’s sparrow, cottontail rabbit, white-tailed deer and many others.
Location: Shawnee National Forest in Southern Illinois
Description: This project controls invasive plants and trees, mainly autumn olive and bush honeysuckle, conducting pre-commercial thinning and crop tree release, performing timber stand improvements and restoring open land across the forest. This work benefits white-tailed deer and wild turkeys, greatly improving nesting, brood-rearing, loafing and foraging habitat.
Location: Medora, North Dakota, Dakota Prairie Grassland, Little Missouri National Grassland, Medora Ranger District
Description: This project removes encroaching Rocky Mountain juniper across the Little Missouri National Grassland on nearly 1,000 acres and created openings to provide nesting, foraging and brood-rearing areas for Merriam’s wild turkeys and also benefits elk, mule deer, white-tailed deer and other species.
Location: A variety of sites in Oklahoma near Arnett, Perry, Seminole, Marietta and Ardmore
Description: This multi-year project restores streamside areas and uses prescribed fire to improve roosting and loafing habitat on public and private lands. Staff will remove invasive woody species on 362 acres and will use prescribed fire on nearly 20,000 acres of private lands. These projects benefit wild turkeys, white-tailed deer, northern bobwhite quail, declining grassland bird species, such as eastern meadowlark, painted bunting, scissor-tailed flycatcher and loggerhead shrike plus pollinator species, including honey bees and monarch butterflies.
Location: Noxubee National Wildlife Refuge near Starkville, Mississippi
Description: This multi-year project encompassed prescribed burning and invasive species treatment on more than 44,000 acres to treat bicolor lespedeza and undesirable understory vegetation. The work benefits wild turkeys and northern bobwhite quail.
Location: Private lands in 29 northeast Texas counties
Description: This ongoing project works through the Northeast Texas Conservation Delivery Network’s Habitat Incentive Program to encourage private land owners to conduct prescribed burns and other means to control exotic and invasive plant species, manage brush, improve timber stands and plant shortleaf and longleaf pine and bottomland hardwood trees. This project benefits wild turkeys, northern bobwhite quail, American kestrels, red-cockaded woodpeckers, brown-headed nuthatches, red-headed woodpeckers, sedge wrens, prairie warblers, Henslow’s sparrows, Le Conte’s sparrows and Bachman’s sparrows.
For more information about the NWTF’s conservation work and the America’s Big Six of Wildlife Conservation, visit NWTF.org. For more information on the Bass Pro Shops and Cabela’s Outdoor Fund, visit basspro.com/conservation.
About the National Wild Turkey Federation
When the National Wild Turkey Federation was founded in 1973, there were about 1.3 million wild turkeys in North America. After decades of work, that number hit a historic high of almost 7 million turkeys. To succeed, the NWTF stood behind science-based conservation and hunters' rights. Today, the NWTF is focused on the future of hunting and conservation through its Save the Habitat. Save the Hunt. initiative – a charge that mobilizes science, fundraising and devoted volunteers to conserve or enhance more than 4 million acres of essential wildlife habitat, recruit at least 1.5 million hunters and open access to 500,000 acres for hunting. For more information, visit NWTF.org.
About the Bass Pro Shops and Cabela's Outdoor Fund
Under the visionary leadership of founder Johnny Morris, Bass Pro Shops and Cabela's is leading North America's largest conservation movement. Together with our partners in conservation, we're positively shaping the future of the outdoors through donations, grant-making and advocacy. The 501c3 Outdoor Fund raises funds to support conservation efforts by activating more than 200 million passionate sportsmen and women rounding up their purchases in Bass Pro Shops and Cabela's stores and online.