EDGEFIELD, S.C.—National Wild Turkey Federation CEO Becky Humphries addressed the Association of Great Lakes Outdoors Writers on urgent conservation needs and discussed pivotal next steps during AGLOW's recent conference in Gaylord, Michigan.
Humphries spoke to the crowd of outdoors media and hunting and fishing industry partners on the importance of diversifying the face of the outdoors.
“For us to be more sustainable, we have to be more diverse,” Humphries said.
Humphries began her speech highlighting some of America’s most iconic conservationists — Teddy Roosevelt, John Muir, Aldo Leopold and Gifford Pinchot, among many other figureheads.
There are icons of conservation, however, that are often overlooked in the greater conservation story, Humphries noted. The CEO brought to light the crucial role women played as Americans began working to conserve and restore its natural resources and forests.
“The women’s suffrage movement and America’s conservation story are inextricably linked,” Humphries said.
Humphries expounded on the immense contributions women brought to America’s great conservation story, accomplishments ranging from Sarah Platt-Decker, Leila Pinchot, the Federation of the Associated Women, the Migratory Bird Act and more. What started as a few women working to improve their communities blossomed into a federation of thousands across the country, much like the NWTF.
However, women’s roles in the greater conservation story would soon be silenced. As scientific enterprise became the leading tool to implement conservation, the male-dominated field isolated women from the conservation world.
“Even when I was a kid, I was told to consider a different profession,” Humphries said. “Luckily I had people in my life to encourage me to pursue natural resource conservation.”
Humphries tied the disconnection of women, who now are heavily influential in natural resource management and conservation work, to the isolation of people of color and nonhunting backgrounds from the outdoors and conservation narrative.
“The landscape is changing and so are the people,” Humphries said “If we are going to ensure that these resources endowed to all of us as Americans are conserved and managed, the face of the people who conserve and revere them needs to be more representative of what America looks like.”
“We have to be inclusive of people of all races and backgrounds. We have to turn from being an exclusive hunt club to being inclusive conservationists.”
“Becky Humphries’ presentation was timely, pertinent and resonated with our members,” said Mark Smith, AGLOW’s executive director. “We appreciate her sharing her perspectives and inspiring our association with her lifelong dedication to 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. Since 2012, this 10-year initiative has already eclipsed goals of conserving or enhancing more than 4 million acres of essential wildlife habitat, recruiting or retaining more than 1.5 million hunters and opening access to more than 500,000 acres for hunting and other recreation opportunities. This critical work will continue to impact wildlife habitat and our great outdoors in the final years of the initiative.
Founded in 1956, AGLOW is one of the nation’s oldest and most respected professional outdoor communicators organizations in the country. The association boasts over 400 members, comprised of writers, editors, publishers, TV and Radio broadcasters, authors, lecturers, photographers, artists, electronic media specialists, bloggers, podcasters, outdoor industry representatives, tourism professionals and conservation groups. The association stretches far beyond the Great Lakes region with membership from 36 states and 2 Canadian provinces.