MISSOULA, Mont. — The Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation and its partners contributed $541,893 in grant funding to support wildlife habitat enhancement, scientific research, hunting heritage and other projects in Pennsylvania. RMEF directly granted $48,722 that leveraged an additional $493,171 in partner funding.
“These grants help maintain and enhance wildlife habitat in the core of Pennsylvania’s elk range,” said Blake Henning, RMEF chief conservation officer. “They also assist a dozen different conservation and outdoor projects including youth hunts, recreational shooting squads, hunter education, field days and other activities.”
Fifteen projects benefit Allegheny, Armstrong, Beaver, Bedford, Berks, Cameron, Centre, Chester, Clearfield, Clinton, Crawford, Dauphin, Delaware, Elk, Erie, Lancaster, Lehigh, Lycoming, McKean, Mercer, Montgomery, Montour, Philadelphia, Potter, Sullivan, Washington and Westmoreland Counties. There are also two additional projects of statewide benefit.
There are 14,474 RMEF members and 29 chapters across Pennsylvania.
“We salute our volunteers who organize and host banquets to raise this vital funding that goes back on the ground to further our mission in Pennsylvania,” said Kyle Weaver, RMEF president and CEO. “They also assist researchers and take part in other on the ground volunteer activities.”
Since 1991, RMEF and its partners completed 524 conservation and hunting heritage outreach projects in Pennsylvania with a combined value of more than $27.8 million. These projects protected or enhanced 27,957 acres of habitat and opened or improved public access to 10,189 acres.
Below is a list of Pennsylvania’s 2021 projects, shown by county.
- Provide funding for the Aliquippa Bucktails Youth and Family Day. Participants take part in shotgun and rifle shooting, archery, firearms safety and other activities.
- Provide funding for youth between the ages of 12 and 16 to participate in a pheasant hunt at the Bedford County Sportsmen’s Club. Participants work with dogs and their handlers, and learn how to dress out birds.
- Provide funding for participants on the Cambridge Springs High School trap shooting team. Those participating in the Pennsylvania High School Clay Target League learn about firearm safety while developing self-confidence, skills and discipline (also benefits Erie County).
- Provide funding to support the Everett Area School District High School rifle team.
- Provide funding for the Everett Sportsman Junior Rifle Club. Participating youth take part in indoor competitive rifle shooting. RMEF volunteers serve as club instructors.
- Create 15 acres of herbaceous habitat on previously timbered land and maintain 79 acres of established openings with mowing, fertilizing and seeding on State Game Lands 14, the heart of Pennsylvania’s Elk Management Area.
- Provide funding for the Sinnemahoning Sportsmen’s Youth Field Day. Youth receive instruction about gun safety and shooting, fly tying and other hands-on educational activities.
- Revitalize a four-acre herbaceous opening to increase early seral habitat used by elk and other wildlife within the Sproul State Forest. Treatment includes removing competing vegetation followed by the application of lime, fertilizer and planting with a mix of plants preferred by elk.
- Enhance a newly-created 23-acre herbaceous opening by applying lime, fertilizer and then seeding to establish wildlife forage. Forest openings in the Moshannon State Forest benefit elk, black bear, turkey, white-tailed deer, ruffed grouse, American woodcock, songbirds and other wildlife.
- Provide funding for the Lake Edinboro Sportsman’s League’s Youth Clay Target Shooting Development program that teaches youth ages 11 to 18 safe and responsible firearm handling, shooting skills and competition (also benefits Erie and Mercer Counties).
- Provide funding to conduct a study using location data from GPS-collared elk to support the development of habitat models that identify elk habitat selection patterns (also benefits Centre, Clearfield, Clinton, McKean, Lycoming and Potter Counties).
- Provide funding for Elk County Sportsmen for Youth Field Day. Participants ages 10 to 14 take part in .22 rifle and shotgun shooting, bird dog handling, archery, fishing and other activities.
- Provide volunteer manpower to assist the Pennsylvania Game Commission with capturing and tagging elk calves as part of an ongoing scientific study.
- Provide funding to Consolidated Sportsmen of Muncy Creek to stock 12,000 trout in Muncy Creek and its tributaries including Big Run, Laurel Run and Rock Run for youngsters and others to catch (also benefits Sullivan County).
- Provide funding for the Youngwood Sportsmen Association to host a Youth Hunter Education Challenge. The program, for youth who successfully completed hunter safety training, includes training and competition in eight skills including firearms shooting, archery, safety and animal identification.
- Provide funding for the Pennsylvania Naturalist Program, which builds a corps of volunteers who provide education, outreach and stewardship toward the conservation of natural resources.
- Provide funding for the Wildlife Leadership Academy, a program designed to empower high school students from across the state, selected for their academic performance, community service and interest in wildlife conservation, to become ambassadors in order to ensure a sustained wildlife legacy for future generations.
Project partners include the Pennsylvania Game Commission, Pennsylvania Department of Conservation and Natural Resources, Indiana University of Pennsylvania and various other conservation, business and civic organizations.
About the Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation:
Founded more than 37 years ago and fueled by hunters, RMEF maintains more than 225,000 members and has conserved more than 8.2 million acres for elk and other wildlife. RMEF also works to open and improve public access, fund and advocate for science-based resource management, and ensure the future of America’s hunting heritage. Discover why “Hunting Is Conservation™” at rmef.org or 800-CALL ELK.