Commitment to conservation in Pennsylvania and beyond
The year 2020 has been anything but friendly. Businesses and the economy at large have taken a hit, and many are feeling the financial strain that comes with a global pandemic. Conservation-based non-profits have not escaped these circumstances, and the shortfalls experienced during a year of limited fundraising could be devastating to their mission of fighting for the fish and game species that occupy our minds daily without your support.
As a result of occupancy and social distancing limitations, many of the annual fundraising events these organizations depend on were shut down this year. Our local Ducks Unlimited Chapter first postponed its banquet, then cancelled. The same goes for our Pennsylvania Outdoor Writers Association Conference, which as chairman I planned to host (twice) in Grantville — first in May, then again in August — but to no avail.
Local NWTF and TU banquets scrambled to preserve their events in similar fashion, before eventually succumbing to state orders. Heck, even the NRA Great American Outdoor Show, held every year in Harrisburg, has been forced to close its doors — for what would’ve been a $75-million money-maker in the capital area come February.
It’s sad but one of the many associated side-effects of the complex health threat facing our world. However, it’s important to remember that whenever there’s a will, there’s a way.
I’ve noticed through all of this mess that a lot of the non-profit conservation organizations I regularly support have gotten creative in ways to bring in funding, if for anything, out of desperation for survival. I’ve seen online auctions, member-only raffles, appeals to the public for “renewal and join” campaigns, pleas for donations, complimentary membership extensions – you name it.
When I realized many of the memberships I typically renew at banquets were about to lapse because those events never took place, it prompted me to sit down and write some checks, mail in some renewal notices, and buy a few raffle tickets.
I encourage all readers to do the same within their financial means. These organizations are hurting just like everyone else. But the work that they do to preserve habitat, lobby for wise conservation decisions, and fight for the rights of hunters and anglers is so critical; it can’t be overlooked or placed in jeopardy. Please consider giving them your support.
If you can’t afford to donate money or pay dues, reach out to your local chapters and offer manpower. I know many of them are still out there doing boots-on-the ground projects to improve the places in which we love to recreate. They’d be grateful for whatever you can give. Let us not forget our commitment to conservation — even amid these troubling times.