EDGEFIELD, S.C. — The National Wild Turkey Federation’s Kristen Schnepp-Giger was recently confirmed to the Pennsylvania Game Commission’s Board of Commissioners after being nominated by Gov. Tom Wolf.
Schnepp-Giger, from Warren, Pennsylvania, fills a vacant spot on the PGC board for Region 1, representing Butler, Clarion, Crawford, Erie, Lawrence, Mercer, Venango and Warren counties.
She has been a wildlife biologist with the NWTF since 2011, when she was hired to fill a cooperative position with the Allegheny National Forest overseeing stewardship and challenge-cost-share funds to implement more than $1.6 million in wildlife habitat enhancement work on the forest. Schnepp-Giger has expanded her scope of work to include managing numerous other grants and agency partnerships, including the USDA Natural Resources Conservation Service, through which she worked with landowners to positively affect habitat-management practices to benefit golden-winged warblers and a number of other wildlife species on private lands.
“Having a person on the commission with vast on-the-ground experience in wildlife and habitat management and the role of hunters in conservation is a boon for the citizens of Pennsylvania,” NWTF CEO Becky Humphries said. “Kristen’s passions for and expertise in wildlife and hunting make her uniquely qualified for this posting and will bring to the commission a higher level of understanding of these topics when making decisions that affect wildlife and hunters.”
A dedicated parent and hunter, Schnepp-Giger is passing along the tradition to her two young children and to many others through NWTF and agency hunter recruitment, retention and reactivation programs in the state.
“In 2016, I lost my husband, and the father of our kids,” Schnepp-Giger said. “Less than two weeks after Jory’s funeral, I had the honor of watching both of my kids (then 6 and 8 years old) harvest their first deer. That was an experience that cannot be put into words. It was only possible because of the Mentored Youth Program in Pennsylvania.”
After that experience, she started a grief-recovery program that centers around the outdoors. Moments on Target is designed to connect youths — and the adults in their lives — who are grieving the loss of a loved one with heathy, fun outdoor activities.
Through these many life experiences, Schnepp-Giger brings a unique perspective to the PGC board.
“I’m excited about learning from the vast experience and knowledge that is currently possessed by the members of the board. I am also looking forward to offering a perspective that is currently lacking, that of a professional wildlife biologist and a younger woman, who is trying to keep her kids engaged in hunting while leading an active lifestyle,” Schnepp-Giger said. “Everyday demands on our lives are key reasons hunter numbers are on the decline, and I want to be part of the solution to help families become more engaged in hunting and to create a culture where hunting is a more relevant part of our lives and our communities.”
As an NWTF employee while simultaneously serving on the commission, Schnepp-Giger will carefully consider proposals and discussions that affect the NWTF’s work in Pennsylvania and will abstain from voting on items that could be considered a conflict of interest.
“It’s a delicate balance to ensure all ethical standards are maintained,” said NWTF Chief Conservation Officer Ross Melinchuck. “I have every confidence that Kristen will bring a fair and balanced perspective to the commission on behalf of wildlife, wild places and the people who enjoy outdoor recreation in Pennsylvania. She is well qualified for the job, and we are proud of her for her passion and commitment to our natural resources and 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. The NWTF Save the Habitat. Save the Hunt. initiative is a charge that mobilizes science, fundraising and devoted volunteers to conserve 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.