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Affiliate of the Week: Wisconsin Wildlife Federation
In honor of our 80th Anniversary celebration throughout 2016, the National Wildlife Federation is recognizing each of our Affiliate Partners in a special “Affiliate of the Week” blog series that showcases the dedicated conservation efforts taking place across the country each day. This week we celebrate our affiliate, the Wisconsin Wildlife Federation, and their commitment to wildlife.
Who We Are
The Wisconsin Wildlife Federation (WWF) is the state’s only statewide organization dedicated to protecting fish and wildlife habitat, fishing, hunting, and other outdoor sporting and recreational opportunities. They develop and advance policies that protect fish and wildlife habitat, and that promote public access to lands and water for outdoor recreation.
WWF has a dual mission to engage in conservation education and to advocate for sound conservation policy. As the state affiliate of the National Wildlife Federation, they promote the protection and conservation of our natural resources on a national level with the U.S. Congress and federal agencies.
What We Do
To promote strong conservation policy, WWF:
- Works with decision-makers at all levels of government, including members of Wisconsin’s Legislature and the state’s congressional delegation.
- Participates in state and federal rule-making processes to ensure that laws are meaningfully implemented at the administrative level.
- Works in coalition with other organizations to develop and advance policies important to our members.
In addition to promoting conservation policy, the Wisconsin Wildlife Federation is committed to education about conservation and outdoor issues. To help WWF achieve that goal, the organization created the Conservation Leadership Corps (CLC), bringing together young leaders from across the Great Lakes Region for conservation leadership training and mentorship by the state’s leading conservationists.
WWF is also one of the sponsors of the Wisconsin Green School Network (WGSN), which is a network of educators and other professionals committed to helping teachers to develop students’ environmental literacy while increasing academic achievement. WWF provides field biologists to work with schools to enhance hands-on conservation learning. WWF also provides educational trunks on wildlife for K-12 education, and funds scholarships to future resource professionals.
Making a National Impact
The Wisconsin Wildlife Federation is undertaking its third year of leadership training for high school and college students. Attracting students from around the Great Lakes region, the four-weekend fully-paid program involves professional instructors in conservation leadership, policy communication and advocacy, and conservation policy analysis and development. The program culminates as students develop conservation resolutions presented at the federation’s annual meeting.
To date, a total of 38 students have either graduated or are currently enrolled in the program. The program’s alumni have created a formal organization called the Wisconsin Conservation Leadership Corps to continue their involvement in the development of sound conservation policies on a state and national level. This has been an extremely successful program and has been transformative for the Wisconsin Wildlife Federation, bringing new and engaging leaders into the state’s conservation movement.
Only in its third year, WWF is already aware of the positive impact the program is having within the region’s conservation community. Successful applicants to the Conservation Leadership Corps have gone on to complete degrees in Wildlife and Fisheries biology, beginning their careers as wildlife advocates and managers. After completing the program, graduates are taking the mantle as the next generation of conservation voices within WWF and other conservation groups around the region, helping fellow affiliates such as Minnesota Conservation Federation start mentoring programs of their own.
It has been said that the most important job for any leader is to aid in the development of their own replacement. With the creation of the Conservation Leadership Corps, WWF seeks to meet this responsibility head on. As the voice of conservation within Wisconsin, WWF will ensure that the next generation’s leadership will have the necessary tools to effective speak for wildlife and the rich outdoor heritage that depends on it.
Attend the WWF Annual Meeting on Saturday, April 9, 2016 at the Hotel Mead in Wisconsin Rapids to learn more about the great work going on throughout the state. You will also have the opportunity to see in action the young men and women in the Wisconsin Conservation Leadership Corps present their ideas on the future of conservation in Wisconsin and hear remarks from National Wildlife Federation President and CEO Collin O’Mara on our work nationwide.
For more information, call the Wisconsin Wildlife Federation at 608-635-0600.