Private Organization Perspectives about Conservation Leadership

The National Wild Turkey Federation was founded 25 years ago and has now grown to 150,000 members. Our mission is to conserve the wild turkey and preserve the turkey hunting tradition. The NWTF leadership is comprised of chapter volunteers and technical committee representatives from each state wildlife agency working together and coordinated by NWTF staff. The NWTF has developed a close working relationship with government wildlife agencies thanks, in part, to our successful Super Fund program which raises money through our banquets and funnels these dollars to conservation projects. This past fiscal year, $5.25 million were generated through the Super Fund program and National Projects and spent on conservation projects throughout the country. The NWTF has also spent over $71 million in cooperator dollars since 1985 on conservation projects. Agency leadership is critical in charting our course as an organization. They must maintain our volunteers' trust to garner support for their agency programs and they must also learn to effectively sell their programs to the public. Wildlife agencies must provide vision and work proactively to resolve conservation problems. As wildlife professionals, we must broaden our view of constituents to include non-hunters. "Teaming with Wildlife" is one program which will attract a wider diversity of constituents and empower them with ownership of the wildlife resource. As conservation leaders, we have done a good job of leading; however, we have taken too much for granted. We must now sell our successes to the public, continue even stronger leadership in the future and broaden our constituent base, or we may lose what we worked so hard to achieve.

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