EDGEFIELD, S.C. — The National Wild Turkey Federation, in conjunction with partners Cabela’s Outdoor Fund, Ducks Unlimited, Pheasants Forever and Quail Forever, held a Partnering for Success workshop at the NWTF headquarters in Edgefield this past weekend.
Fifty instructors, volunteer coordinators and conservation professionals representing 28 states came together to discuss challenges in R3 (recruit, retain and reactivate) efforts for hunting and shooting sports and to teach best practices for hosting events.
“We are thrilled to have partnered with other key conservation organizations to host this workshop,” said Mandy Harling, director of Hunting Heritage Programs at the NWTF. “For years, we’ve discussed the possibility of collaborating in this way, and to see it come to fruition is surreal. By combining our expertise and resources with state and federal agencies, and other conservation organizations, we can make a larger impact with our recruitment, retention and reactivation efforts to increase participation in hunting and shooting sports.”
R3 efforts are of particular importance as participation in hunting has been declining since the 1980s, and hunters help regulate wildlife populations, provide conservation funding and create economic growth and job opportunities.
Friday evening, a panel of R3 experts and partners answered questions and discussed the importance of the conservation community aligning efforts to offer interested participants multiple mentored experiences.
Saturday’s workshop participants attended courses ranging from wingshooting and archery skills to hands-on habitat projects, while learning ways to give hands-on instruction to new students. The event also offered courses in effective use of social media, establishing a mentor network and ways to reach nonhunters and nonshooters.
“Partnering for Success was a perfect platform to bring volunteers from different conservation groups together to learn and understand the decline in hunting participation,” said John Linquist, national shooting sports programs manager for Pheasants Forever and Quail Forever. “It provided skills and insights for volunteers to take home and use. Our hope is they will recruit, retain and reactivate folks of all demographics to enjoy and participate in our hunting heritage.”
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.