The National Wild Turkey Federation has a long and proud history of delivering on its mission: We are dedicated to the conservation of the wild turkey and the preservation of our hunting heritage. We have been able to achieve nearly 50 years of success by growing and evolving how we operate as an organization.
Today, the majority of our staff spend significantly less time in a formal office setting. Technology provides additional flexibility and has streamlined many of our support functions. Staff members are now deployed throughout the country, creating efficiencies, a better understanding of regional needs and allowing staff and volunteers to communicate and collaborate more effectively. These changes began years ago, but the pandemic accelerated the pace of change. Consequently, the staff and central office functions based at the headquarters require less space.
In addition, the outdoor industry has grown alongside us and now provides many services — including bulk-order merchandise warehousing and shipping — on a contractual basis that’s cost-effective and efficient. This has gradually changed the way we approach fundraising through chapter banquets.
Recognizing that our facility and space needs have changed, the NWTF National Board of Directors and our senior leadership team spent the past spring and summer researching options and considering the best path forward to build on the success of the NWTF. In August, the board voted unanimously to implement a strategic plan for the Wild Turkey Center in Edgefield, South Carolina, that consists of three steps:
The Museum ? The tremendous stories of wild turkey restoration across America and the people who led this effort are vital to preserve and use to educate future generations. We are pleased to share that we are in discussions with Johnny Morris — founder and CEO of Bass Pro Shops, longtime friend of the NWTF and noted conservationist — to relocate our museum to the Wonders of Wildlife National Museum and Aquarium located in Springfield, Missouri. We are currently working through details of the museum relocation and will share more information with you in the coming months.
Thanks to Morris’ vision and generosity, the Wonders of Wildlife National Museum and Aquarium has become a major tourist destination, attracting more than 1 million visitors each year and helping Springfield become known as America’s Conservation Capital.
Merchandise Warehousing and Fulfillment ? With our chapters now able to order direct from preferred vendors and the NWTF now offering a more limited exclusive core package of merchandise for chapters’ banquet fundraisers, we only use a fraction of the warehouse space for NWTF merchandise compared to 10 years ago. Going forward, a third party will be selected in the coming months to take over warehousing and shipping of NWTF merchandise. Our hard-working warehouse staff will be offered other available positions within the NWTF or severance packages as we phase out warehouse operations in Edgefield over the next year. We plan to put the warehouse building and adjoining parking/land area up for sale.
Headquarters Office Space and the Palmetto Shooting Complex ? The current headquarters office building in Edgefield is far too large for the NWTF’s central business support functions. Moving to a more efficient office space in the area will allow us to invest in systems and infrastructure that better support the organization. The NWTF will retain and continue to operate the Palmetto Shooting Complex in Edgefield and will consider as an option building a new headquarters office near the Complex. Once a suitable office alternative is determined, the current headquarters building and adjoining lands will be offered for sale.
As we expand and grow the NWTF, additional regional center locations will be evaluated to better support our volunteer network, mission, members and staff. Our goal is to invest in the fabric of our organization and position ourselves to better meet current and future needs, including at the regional level.
It is expected that this plan will be sequenced and implemented in a manner that allows for a smooth transition so that we properly relocate our business functions, staff and archives appropriately. Proceeds from the property sales will be reinvested in the organization to support our mission nationwide and ensure the long-term health of the NWTF.
As we implement this strategic plan, we will be mindful and respectful of all those who contributed to our existing headquarters campus and to the treasures that help tell our story. Our people, our mission and our history of achievements are what truly make the NWTF special. We will keep all of you and our members updated throughout these transitions, which will allow us to modernize our organization and position the NWTF for continued success in the years ahead.
National Wild Turkey Federation
The Wisconsin State Chapter of the NWTF recently met to review Hunting Heritage Super Fund project proposals for 2023 funding awards. After the reviewing and ranking process, proposals were presented to and approved by the Wisconsin Board of Directors. The Board of Directors budgeted $30,700 for conservation projects and $40,000 for Hunting Heritage-related projects including outreach-education events, chapter scholarships and 4H Shooting Sports support.
"NWTF staff and our conservation partners are thankful for the talented volunteers who generate these funds to be available to continue our mission in Wisconsin," said Clayton Lenk, NWTF district biologist for Wisconsin, Minnesota, North Dakota and South Dakota. "The projects that are funded for 2023 will greatly impact the wild turkey in our focal landscapes and also provide more public hunting opportunities for outdoorsmen and women throughout the state."
NWTF conservation project award funding will be matched with $1,076,000 in partner or grant funds for the approved projects, representing a 35:1 match rate for NWTF project funding.
Conservation Project Funding = $30,700
Projects awarded funding for 2023 occur in the Driftless Area and Central Wisconsin Focal Landscapes. Specific project awards include:
This funding was approved to support education/outreach efforts in Wisconsin including JAKES, WITO, Wheelin’ Sportsmen, scholarships, hunter’s education and the National Archery in the Schools Program.
Partners include Bong Naturalist Association, Duck Unlimited, Mississippi Valley Conservancy, Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources and Pheasants Forever.