The Founding of a Conservation Legacy

This Week in NWF History

Since 1936, the National Wildlife Federation has worked to conserve the nation’s wildlife and wild places. As part of our 80th anniversary celebration, we are recognizing important moments in our history that continue to make an impact today.

In the early 1900s, there was no nationwide constituency to support conservation, until Jay Norwood “Ding” Darling convinced President Franklin Roosevelt to convene more than 2,000 hunters, anglers and conservationists from across the country. In this meeting in February 1936, the National Wildlife Federation was founded as the General Wildlife Federation by Darling and the collected leaders. For the eighty years since, NWF and our affiliate partners have continued this legacy to conserve and protect wildlife in all corners of the nation and beyond from a variety of threats.

The National Wildlife Federation’s program work protects the iconic landscapes and waterways that provide vital habitat for a multitude of wildlife species across the nation, and even internationally. We are helping build wildlife corridors in California and the northeast, and working to mitigate international deforestation which affects many migratory species at home and abroad. Our team also works closely with sportsmen and women to defend public lands for recreation and wildlife like bison, bighorn sheep, and mountain lions.

Maroon Bells, Colorado. Photo by National Wildlife Photo Contest entrant Bob Emery

Maroon Bells, Colorado. Photo by National Wildlife Photo Contest entrant Bob Emery

Restoring healthy water systems, from streams and lakes and rivers to coastal wetlands and fisheries is another major focus of our conservation efforts. Our teams across the country work together with diverse coalitions and partners to clean up and conserve important wildlife areas, including the Gulf of Mexico and Mississippi River Delta, Great Lakes region, Chesapeake Bay, and the Delaware River Basin.

Pelicans in the Gulf of Mexico. Photo by C. P. Ewing via Flickr Creative Commons

Pelicans in the Gulf of Mexico. Photo by C. P. Ewing via Flickr Creative Commons

Getting outside and enjoying outdoor recreation is an important way to cultivate the next generation of environmental stewards. As part of the National Wildlife Federation’s environmental education initiative, we produce three award-winning magazines: National Wildlife, Ranger Rick, and Ranger Rick, Jr. to bring important wildlife and conservation stories to all ages and engaging many generations of conservationists. Our education programs for students and teachers also bring environmental education and life skills to indoor and outdoor classrooms from pre-K through college and prepare students for a greener economy of tomorrow.

Kids experiencing the wonders of a farm pond. Photo by National Wildlife Photo Contest entrant Joel Hansen

Kids experiencing the wonders of a farm pond. Photo by National Wildlife Photo Contest entrant Joel Hansen

There’s still more work to do to ensure that future generations will be able to enjoy what we do today. Wildlife continue to face dangers from many sides, including climate change impacts such as sea level rise, severe storms and flooding and agricultural losses like deforestation. Join the National Wildlife Federation in our mission to conserve iconic landscapes, restore healthy waters, and maintain vibrant communities for the next 80 years and beyond!

Join NWF Help protect wildlife. Become a member of the National Wildlife Federation today!

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