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Affiliate of the Week: Indiana 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 Indiana Wildlife Federation, and their commitment to wildlife.
WHO WE ARE
The Indiana Wildlife Federation is a statewide nonprofit conservation organization. They actively engage in fish and wildlife policy and promote hunting, fishing, wildlife watching, and other outdoor recreation interests. Following science-based wildlife management practices, they encourage establishing and enhancing habitat to maintain a healthy and sustainable environment.
IWF is governed by a volunteer Board of Directors, and their membership includes individuals, businesses, conservation clubs, and organizations all dedicated to the wise use of Indiana’s natural resources.
WHAT WE DO
IWF offers a variety of programs that provide resources, tips, and guidance for incorporating changes into landscapes to create habitat for wildlife. Their programs focus on three main areas:
Habitat programs are the cornerstones of IWF’s work to encourage sustainable wildlife populations for the health, enjoyment, and well-being of Indiana’s residents. Based on scientific principles, these programs promote common-sense conservation by creating a connection to nature and a passion for stewardship of precious natural resources. IWF works jointly with the National Wildlife Federation to encourage individuals to create wildlife havens in their own yards through the Certified Wildlife Habitat™ program and also offers workshops on the principles of gardening for wildlife.
IWF offers education programs to all Hoosiers, with special emphasis on connecting children and families to nature. Each year, IWF engages citizens through outreach events around the state and shares information on native plants, wildlife management, preserving habitats, and more.
They also help develop future conservation leaders through their Gary Doxtater Internship and Charles Holt Scholarship programs.
IWF has a long history of supporting state and regional policies that enhance the long-term conservation of Indiana’s fish and wildlife and that maintain the right of citizens to hunt, fish, and trap. They work side-by-side with state agencies and legislators to ensure public access to lands for outdoor recreation as well as to advocate for sustainable and renewable energy. In 2015 and 2016 alone, they successfully lobbied for the passage of new rules to protect Indiana’s native catfish population and supported dedicated conservation funding for the state’s wildlife.
MAKING A NATIONAL IMPACT
As part of the migratory flyway of the Eastern monarch butterfly population, Indiana plays a critical role in the national effort to reverse this iconic species’ decline. The Indiana Wildlife Federation is promoting the butterfly’s recovery through outreach at every community level, from municipalities to neighborhoods to individuals.
This year, IWF partnered with NWF’s Great Lakes Regional Center to send letters to 120 Indiana mayors, encouraging them to take the Mayor’s Monarch Pledge on behalf of their cities. Already, the mayors of Evansville, Gary, Indianapolis, South Bend, Westfield, West Lafayette, and Zionsville have committed to taking actions to protect the monarch through local action. IWF is supporting those commitments by offering conservation networking and resource sharing opportunities to the mayors and their citizens.
To encourage widespread awareness of monarch conservation, IWF is presenting pollinator and monarch-focused educational workshops to neighborhood associations, religious groups, and others. They distributed more than 400 milkweed plugs this spring and are hosting a monarch tagging event and caterpillar rearing demonstration this fall.
Lastly, IWF has partnered with local organizations like Keep Indianapolis Beautiful and Reconnecting To Our Waterways to distribute native nectar-producing plants and to build pollinator-friendly community gardens in urban neighborhoods. The hope is to generate an army of monarch champions in Indiana who will share their knowledge of the butterfly’s habitat and food needs with their communities.
Visit IWF’s website to check for volunteer opportunities such as helping build bird feeders and maintaining native plant gardens.