Affiliate of the Week: Mississippi 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, Mississippi Wildlife Federation, and their commitment to wildlife.
WHO WE ARE
The Mississippi Wildlife Federation (MWF) was started in 1946 by a group of concerned sportsmen who wanted to have a say in how the resources of their state were being managed. It was their belief that if the natural resources of the state do, in fact, belong to the people of Mississippi, then the people should have input into how they are conserved and passed to future generations.
Now celebrating its 70th year, MWF is recognized as the largest and most respected non-profit conservation organization in the state. MWF’s membership is made up of a wide array of outdoor enthusiasts ranging from hunters and anglers to bird watchers and kayakers. Their diversity and love of Mississippi’s natural things are what give the Federation its strength. From their iconic wildlife species like the black bear and white-tailed deer to their unique habitats ranging from the Gulf Coast to the Mississippi River Delta, the Mississippi Wildlife Federation prides itself on “doing right for the resource”.
WHAT WE DO
MWF’s Camo Coalition is an online advocacy network designed to give hunters, anglers and all people of Mississippi a voice in the conservation of the state’s wildlife and natural resources. This engaged community of thousands across the state is able to reach out to representatives at the local, state, and federal levels to ensure conservation issues that matter to the people of Mississippi and beyond are understood and given due attention. The Federation also hosts the annual Conservation Achievement Awards which recognize people and organizations that have made a lasting impact on conservation in Mississippi.
Funded by a grant from the Mississippi Department of Environmental Quality, MWF’s Adopt-A-Stream Program works to educate the people of Mississippi about the impacts that their actions have on the waters of the state. The program targets teachers, schools kids and ordinary citizens to raise awareness about water resources in Mississippi and how we can do our part to keep them clean. MWF’s Habitat Stewards program on the Gulf Coast provides volunteers with the opportunity to learn about coastal ecology and apply that knowledge by donating 100 hours of volunteer time to habitat and restoration projects along the coast. Volunteer projects include removal of invasive plant species, turtle and shorebird nest surveys and planting of native vegetation for ecological restoration just to name a few.
MWF strives to get kids outdoors through numerous programs throughout the year. Events such as Katfishin’ Kids and Youth Fish Camp give kids the opportunity to learn the basics of fishing and actually catch their first fish. Their Youth Squirrel Hunts provide safe, supervised hunting experiences for first-timers that they will never forget. Outdoorama on the Rez provides an all-around outdoor experience with a sample of archery, shooting, angling and so many more activities. Additionally, MWF sponsors the Gator Bait Hatchling youth kayak races and youth photography contest as a means of getting kids back into nature.
MWF’s Hunter’s Harvest program works with deer hunters and local food charities to give back to those in need. The program provides a means for hunters to donate unwanted venison which is then distributed to local food charities in their communities. The program continues to grow each year, allowing more and more of the state’s hunters to show the benefits of the sport and provide tens of thousands of meals for people who rely on emergency food sources.
Making a National Impact
The Mississippi Wildlife Federation remains at the forefront of wildlife and natural resource issues in Mississippi. However, they are well aware that wildlife do not recognize state lines, and so we must all work together in order to conserve the resources we hold dear.
Through MWF’s Camo Coalition, they are able to contact federal legislators to ensure that the people’s voice is heard. Their national conservation issues include conservation measures of the Farm Bill, flood control measures along the Mississippi River and the restoration of coastal natural resources following the Deepwater Horizon oil disaster — all of which have had a direct impact not only on Mississippi, but the entire nation. The Mississippi Wildlife Federation is proud to do its part in continuing to ensure that our natural resources and wildlife heritage are passed on to the next generation.