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Affiliate of the Week: Georgia 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, Georgia Wildlife Federation, and their commitment to wildlife.
Who We Are
The Georgia Wildlife Federation (GWF) began as a sportsman’s organization in 1936 and has grown to become Georgia’s oldest and largest conservation organization. Their members represent a diverse group of individuals united by a similar concern and compassion for the environment, including bird watchers, hunters, anglers, educators, gardeners, and hikers. The work of the Federation focuses on maintaining the state’s biologically diverse systems and wildlife, from the gopher tortoise of the longleaf pine ecosystem to the cave dwelling gray bat of Blue Ridge.
What We Do
The Georgia Wildlife Federation’s work in advocacy, education, stewardship and sportsman’s issues has shaped every aspect of Georgia’s diverse environmental landscape, from the mountains to the coast.
GWF leads two online advocacy networks, the Camo Coalition and Protect Georgia, that work hand-in-hand to alert citizens when it is time to speak up and defend the right to clean and abundant water, habitat, and wildlife, as well as ample opportunities to enjoy it.
Camp Charlie, GWF’s signature family camping program, brings families of all backgrounds and interests together to experience a fun-filled weekend in the great outdoors. With the goal of equipping participants with basic camping knowledge and skills, Camp Charlie sends families home with the desire and confidence to make camping and outdoor activities part of their routine. The dedicated efforts of GWF staff, board, and volunteers as well as continued support from NWF’s South Central Regional Center staff help make the program successful.
Founded in 2002 by Georgia Wildlife Federation and other like-minded organizations, the Georgia Water Coalition works diligently to advise the state’s elected officials, business leaders, and citizens to make wise choices concerning water quality. Partner organizations hold strategic planning meetings throughout the year, publish an annual report with recommendations to decision-makers, and develop call-to-action alerts as needed to distribute to Georgia’s citizenry.
Since 1993, hunters have been bringing meat to the tables of those in need through the Georgia Hunters for the Hungry (GHFTH) program. This successful program continues to provide opportunities during hunting season for hunters to share their harvest with those in need. Georgia Wildlife Federation has sponsored GHFTH since its inception through program promotion and fundraising efforts to pay processors for venison delivered to food banks.
Making a National Impact
The sharing of ideas often brings about the most effective and innovative conservation actions. Georgia Wildlife Federation has a history of networking and partnering with like-minded organizations through several programs, such as the Camo Coalition, which serve as models for other organizations across the country.
Started by GWF in 2005, the Camo Coalition began with the goal of quickly disseminating action alerts to sportsmen across the state and providing a way for them to quickly send their opinions to legislators. Each year, an average of 3000 emails is sent to legislators during the Georgia General Assembly on behalf of natural resource conservation. Over the years, activists have been successful in maintaining adequate stream buffers and protecting our native white-tailed deer herd from deer farming and high fence hunting preserves.
By sharing the success of this program with fellow organizations, Camo Coalition programs are now active in Tennessee, North Carolina, Louisiana, South Carolina, South Dakota, West Virginia and Wisconsin.
The heart of the Georgia Wildlife Federation is its members and volunteers. Sign up today for their monthly newsletter to learn more about GWF and how you can get involved.