MISSOULA, Mont.--The Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation formed a partnership with the Max McGraw Wildlife Foundation to expand and help fund Conservation Leaders for Tomorrow (CLfT), an established program designed to educate wildlife professionals who do not hunt with an understanding about the important roles of hunting and its impact on conservation.
"A key element of RMEF's mission is to enhance our hunting heritage," said Blake Henning, RMEF vice president of Lands and Conservation. "This partnership allows us to do that by helping expand CLfT into the western part of the country while also assisting program participants with the funding they need to attend."
CLfT offers five-day workshops designed for top professional leaders and students within the natural resources science and management. CLfT workshops are taught by trained instructors who are wildlife professionals, dedicated conservationists and veteran hunters. Participants are exposed to highly interactive classroom discussions and field exercises that focus on hunting awareness, safety, hunter motivations, and the vital role that hunting plays in wildlife conservation.
"The goal of CLfT is very clear," says Zachary Lowe, director of CLfT. "We want to identify the current and future leadership of our wildlife resources who do not hunt and provide them with a career-relevant opportunity to learn and experience what hunting is, who hunters are, and how this all directly benefits wildlife and the future of conservation."
The goal of CLfT is not to recruit or train participants to be hunters. Instead, it is to provide class members with insights and knowledge into why hunting is important from biological, social, cultural, economic and recreational standpoints and ultimately provide for its role in conservation. In return participants have the opportunity to advance their careers, identify better with the hunting constituency, and reinforce the core mission of their state and federal agencies.
"CLfT plays a vital role in the future of hunting recruitment and retention", says David Windsor, national coordinator for CLfT. "Not because we create a new hunter, but because we work to ensure that agencies and wildlife professionals of the future have a well-developed understanding of hunters and hunting which ultimately powers wildlife conservation."
"RMEF's core message of Hunting is Conservation gets to the very foundation of CLfT's educational approach and forms the basis for their newly launched joint effort to extend CLfT further into the Western US," added Henning.
"The impact of CLfT Workshops is diverse but powerful as we often hear about how CLfT has changed the professional or personal lives of its participants" says Windsor.
To learn more about Conservation Leaders for Tomorrow, go to www.clft.org.
About the Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation
RMEF is a leading conservation organization that protected or enhanced habitat on more than 6.3 million acres-an area larger than Yellowstone, Grand Canyon, Glacier, Yosemite, Rocky Mountain and Great Smoky Mountains national parks combined. RMEF also is a strong voice for hunters in access, wildlife management and conservation policy issues. RMEF members, partners and volunteers, working together as Team Elk, are making a difference all across elk country. Join us at www.rmef.org or 800-CALL ELK.