The Tennessee Wildlife Federation has been named Affiliate of the Year by the National Wildlife Federation. (Photo: Dean Klim)

The Tennessee Wildlife Federation has been named the National Wildlife Federation’s Affiliate of the Year. Each year, the National Wildlife Federation recognizes one of its 51 state and territorial affiliates for outstanding achievement in conservation. This is the Tennessee Wildlife Federation’s first Affiliate of the Year win since 1979, and its fourth in the organization’s 72-year history.

“Tennessee Wildlife Federation is one of the most effective conservation organizations in our nation. Period.” said National Wildlife Federation CEO Collin O’Mara. “Tennessee is blessed with the greatest diversity of wildlife of any inland state in our great nation—and fortunately, Tennessee Wildlife Federation is leading the charge on restoring wildlife habitat, keeping wildlife and public lands public, and connecting all Tennesseans with wildlife,” he added. “We love working with the whole team to put points on the board for conservation and we could not be more proud of our 72-year partnership. We are honored to recognize Tennessee Wildlife Federation as our Federation’s 2018 Affiliate of the Year.”

“Being named Affiliate of the Year really speaks to the work of our Tennessee Wildlife Federation family,” said Kendall McCarter, TWF’s chief development officer. “While the Federation and its supporters have been characterized by strength and passion since its founding in 1946, we have made significant strides in recent years to better affect change in Tennessee and nationally. We’re thrilled to see those efforts bear fruit and be acknowledged.” .

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This honor recognizes many different kinds of work, all of which have contributed to the Federation’s well-enjoyed reputation as a leader among affiliates, government agencies, and nonprofit conservation organizations in Tennessee and throughout the nation.

In recent years, TWF has been called to consult with several other National Wildlife Federation affiliates to share program and policy models and materials. This includes neighbor affiliates such North Carolina, South Carolina, Kentucky, and Florida. As well as those farther away, including Texas, Wyoming, and Arizona.

The Tennessee Wildlife Federation also has been instrumental in promoting action on issues with national impact, such as understanding and containing chronic wasting disease, advocating for public lands, as well as creating the Tennessee Alliance for America’s Fish and Wildlife to drive grassroots efforts to support the Recovering America’s Wildlife Act.

One of the Federation’s greatest changes over the past two decades has been to move from its previously singular focus on policy to creating programs designed to engage Tennesseans in the outdoors for the first time and recruit them into a lasting outdoor lifestyle.

Notably, the Federation’s Tennessee Scholastic Clay Target Program is among the strongest in the nation and serves as the gateway to engaging youth in hunting activities through the innovative Youth Hunting & Fishing Program. These youth, and all hunters in Tennessee, are encouraged to be good stewards of our natural resources as well as of their communities by feeding hungry families with donations to Hunters for the Hungry.

Additionally, TWF has transitioned from an organization that primarily consulted on restoration projects to actively working to restore habitats and partnering with regional businesses, universities, and conservation organizations to conserve or restore more than 13,000 acres of land. With ongoing conservation work, the Federation hopes to make lasting and sustainable improvements to habitats throughout Tennessee for all wildlife to enjoy.

“Tennessee Wildlife Federation is honored to receive the Affiliate of the Year award. The Federation has been instrumental to bringing conservation and wildlife issues to the forefront of Tennessee consciousness,” said Michael Butler, TWF’s chief executive officer. “We’re confident our efforts will persist now and in the future and this is a fitting addition to our legacy in Tennessee.”

The Tennessee Wildlife Federation will be recognized during the National Wildlife Federation’s annual meeting this June outside of Washington D.C.

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