How to Convince Folks Living in Non-Elk States to Support RMEF
By Rich Creason, Chapter Chair, East Central Indiana Chapter
When I talk to my fellow Hoosiers about joining the RMEF and attending a banquet, they usually reply, “But, there are no wild elk in Indiana.” This is true. There probably will never be wild elk here because of too many people and not enough habitat.
So how do we volunteers in non-elk states convince local folks to support our cause? For starters, we could tell them about the Elk Foundation permanently protecting or enhancing more than 5.4 million acres for elk and other wildlife, but that might not impress them. Maybe if we told them about RMEF’s partnership with the Boy Scouts, allowing over 3,500 youths in the last four years to backpack off-trail for seven days across the foundation’s 95,000-acre Double H Ranch/Torstenson Wildlife Center in New Mexico, they would understand why we work so hard. Perhaps the fact that volunteers build water sources for wildlife, help restore elk herds to former ranges, fight noxious weeds and restore meadows might explain how dedicated some people are to the RMEF.
But still, Indiana, like many other eastern states, has no elk. So maybe we should explain that RMEF thinks locally and provides grants to non-elk states for conservation education programs such as the National Archery in the Schools Program, Becoming an Outdoors-Woman, hunter education classes and 4-H Shooting Sports. Or maybe we should tell them that the foundation offers scholarships to college students pursuing careers in wildlife management and conservation fields.
If they still resist, ask them if they have children or grandkids. I proudly tell people I have a 3-year-old grandson, and someday I want him to see elk, deer and pronghorns rather than strip mallsdotting the foothills and prairies. I want him to catch wild trout in clear mountain streams instead of buying all his meat wrapped in cellophane. I want him to take long hikes through wild country instead of sprawling subdivisions.
I tell them RMEF has done more to make these dreams come true in the past than any group I know. With the help of chapters, volunteers and members from every state across the country—whether they have elk or not—our goals will be met.