Elk NetworkPennsylvania’s Hunting Heritage, Wildlife Habitat Get Boost from RMEF Grants

Conservation , News Releases | July 19, 2018

July 19, 2018

Pennsylvania’s Hunting Heritage, Wildlife Habitat Get Boost from RMEF Grants

MISSOULA, Mont.—The Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation awarded $71,055 in grant funding to bolster hunting heritage outreach and habitat stewardship projects across 36 counties in Pennsylvania. “Ensuring the future of hunting and our shared outdoor way of life is a vital part of RMEF’s conservation mission,” said Blake Henning, RMEF chief conservation officer. “Twenty-seven of the 30 granted projects are directed toward youth camps, hunter and outdoor education, shooting sports and conservation-related activities and events.”

Three additional projects focus on wildlife habitat. One of them, in Cameron County, seeks to enhance and expand habitat in State Game Land 14 through a combination of noxious weed treatments, clearing stumps and woody debris, implementing seeding and fertilizing, and creating new forage openings that benefit elk and other wildlife. Another, RMEF’s first in Potter County, improves elk habitat in the Susquehannock State Forest.

The grants provide funding for projects in Adams, Allegheny, Armstrong, Beaver, Bedford, Blair, Bucks, Butler, Cambria, Cameron, Chester, Clarion, Clearfield, Crawford, Cumberland, Dauphin, Elk, Erie, Fayette, Forest, Greene, Lancaster, Lawrence, Lebanon, Lycoming, Mercer, Montgomery, Perry, Philadelphia, Potter, Schuylkill, Somerset, Sullivan, Venango, Warren and Westmoreland Counties. There are also two projects of statewide benefit.

“Without the dedication of our volunteers, hosting fundraising banquets, recruiting of members and holding other special events, these grants would not be possible,” said Kyle Weaver, RMEF president and CEO. “We are grateful for them and the ability to make such an impact in their backyards throughout the state of Pennsylvania.”

There are nearly 13,000 RMEF members and 28 chapters in Pennsylvania.

Since 1991, RMEF and its partners completed 425 conservation and hunting heritage outreach projects in Pennsylvania with a combined value of more than $25 million. These projects protected or enhanced 26,907 acres of habitat and opened or improved public access to 10,152 acres.

Here is a breakdown of Pennsylvania’s 2018 grants, listed by county:

Armstrong County—provide funding for the Armstrong County Sportsmen and Conservation League Youth Field Day in Spring Church that offered instruction for K-12 youth about shooting muzzleloaders, shotguns and .22 rifles as well as archery, trapping, wildlife identification, water safety and other activities.

Beaver County—provide funding for the Aliquippa Bucktails Sportman’s Club Young Bucks and family events that include archery, hunting and shooting safety instruction (also benefits Allegheny, Butler, Lawrence and Washington Counties)

Bedford County—provide funding for the North Bedford County School District’s National Archery in the Schools Program that provides youth in grades 8-12 an opportunity to learn about archery in a fun, safe environment; and provide funding for the Bedford County Sportsmen's Club 2018 Youth Pheasant Hunt for children age 12-16; provide funding for the Everett Area High School rifle team in Everett to help purchase one new Anschutz small bore rifle; and provide funding to upgrade shooting equipment for the Everett Sportsmen Junior Rifle Club which promotes safety, education and instruction for indoor competitive rifle competition.

Blair County—provide funding for the Blair County Youth Field Day in Altoona where youth age 6-16 learn about elk and elk habitat, turkey calling, gun safety, archery, rifle shooting and other outdoor activities.

Cambria County—provide funding for three different youth shooting events hosted by the Colver Sportsmen's Club in Ebensburg that promotes safe gun handling and shooting.

Cameron County—eliminate invasive vegetation, create more managed herbaceous openings and enhance grazing conditions within existing openings on State Game Land #14 where invasive buckthorn is impacting more than 300 acres of openings as a benefit for elk and other wildlife. Crawford County—provide funding for the Cambridge Springs High School trap shooting team to assist with the purchase of ammunition as it competes in the Pennsylvania High School Clay Target League; and provide funding and volunteer coaches for the Lake Edinboro Sportsman's League Youth Clay Target Shooting and Development Program which seeks to introduce competitive clay target shooting to participating youth, teaching safe and responsible firearm handling, coaching and instructing sub junior, junior and senior teams for competition at local, state and national venues (also benefits Erie County).

Clearfield County—provide funding for the Glendale Sportsmen's Club Youth Archery League in Irvona which provides Glendale, Harmony Area and Moshanon Valley school district youth grades K-12 instruction in safe, effective shooting skills for target, hunting and competition; and provide funding for a predator education and calling event hosted by the Glendale Sportsmen’s Club that teaches participants how to hunt and use predator calls (also benefits Centre County).

Dauphin County—provide funding and volunteer manpower for the Capital Area Sportsmen for Youth Field Day in Harrisburg where 120+ youth participate in archery, fishing, shooting, fly tying, wildlife tracking, sign identification and other outdoor activities (also benefits Lebanon, Perry and Cumberland Counties).

Elk County—provide funding for the Elk County Sportsmen for Youth Field Day in St. Marys for boys and girls ages 10-14 to receive hands-on instruction in.22 rifle and 20 gauge rifle shooting, trapping, camping, wild turkey identification and calling, archery, fishing and other activities; and rehab an existing one-acre pond as well as cultivate, fertilize and seed nine acres to benefit habitat for elk and other wildlife.

Fayette County—provide funding to assist the Fayette County Sportsmen’s League in Connellsville to train youth to compete at the state level in rifle, shotgun, muzzleloader and archery, hunter knowledge and wildlife identification.

Forest County—provide funding for the Northwest Sportsmen for Youth Forest County Youth Field Day which offers instruction to youth about firearms, archery, fishing, trapping, canoeing and other activities (also benefits Allegheny, Butler, Clarion, Venango and Warren Counties).

Greene County—provide funding for the Hunting Hill Hawkeyes Greene County's Scholastic Clay Target Program and its mission to promote and teach youth the fundamentals of gun safety and the value of wildlife preservation.

Lycoming County—provide funding for the Consolidated Sportsmen of Muncy Creeks outdoor education efforts that involve youth in fishing, camping, conservation and shooting sports (also benefits Sullivan County).

Mercer County—provide funding for the Mercer County Youth Conservation Camp in Transfer for boys and girls ages 10-16 with an interest in wildlife, fish, soil, water and air management as well as the conservation practices related to them.

Philadelphia County—provide funding for the Pennsylvania Master Naturalist program which has vast statewide reach and builds a corps of knowledgeable citizen volunteers who provide education, outreach and stewardship toward the conservation of natural resources within their communities (also benefits Adams, Bucks, Chester, Lancaster, and Montgomery Counties).

Potter County—maintain 85 acres of existing openings and convert another 35 acres into productive herbaceous habitat on the Susquehannock State Forest in north-central Pennsylvania which makes up more than 10 percent of the state’s Elk Management Area. The project aims to provide better habitat so elk naturally disperse throughout the forest.

Schuylkill County—provide funding for equipment and transportation costs for the newly-formed Tri-Valley High School archery program in Hegins.

Somerset County—provide funding for the Berlin Sportsmen’s Club Youth Fishing Derby that offers fishing, instruction and lunch to members of local scouting organizations and other youth.

Sullivan County—provide funding for the North Mountain Sportsmen’s Association 6th Grade Field Day in Muncy Valley. Girls and boys rotate through six stations that include shooting rifles, archery, archaeology, wildlife identification and conservation.

Westmoreland County—provide funding for the Vandergrift Sportsmen Association Youth Day in Apollo that introduces youth to shooting sports, and conservation of wild resources; and provide funding for the Shaner Sportsmen's Club Youth Field Day in Irwin that offers children age 8-15 an opportunity to try a wide range of activities including bird dog training, wildlife identification, archery, goose calling and shooting sports (also benefits Allegheny, Butler, Greene and Somerset Counties).

Statewide—provide funding for the Wildlife Leadership Academy which seeks to empower high school students from across the state, selected for their academic performance, community service experience and interest in wildlife biology and conservation, to become ambassadors for wildlife conservation in order to ensure a sustained wildlife legacy for future generations; and provide funding for the Seedlings for Schools Program where students receive and plant seedlings to experience a role as caretaker of their environment.