The Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation awarded $37,916 in grant funding to benefit elk habitat and hunting heritage efforts in Tennessee.
“We are grateful for the support of our 2,200 members across Tennessee and our volunteers among eight chapters who dedicate their time and talents to raise these funds for elk and elk habitat in the Volunteer State,” said Kyle Weaver, RMEF president and CEO.
Since 1990, RMEF and its partners completed 100 conservation and hunting heritage outreach projects in Tennessee with a combined value of more than $2 million. These projects protected or enhanced 77,805 acres of habitat and opened or improved public access to 74,000 acres.
RMEF also assisted with the successful restoration of wild, free-ranging elk onto their historic Tennessee range in 2000 and subsequent years.
“There are more than 400 elk in Tennessee and they need quality habitat and forage openings that will allow the population to grow and expand its range,” said Blake Henning, RMEF chief conservation officer. “A major part of this 2018 funding is geared toward doing exactly that.”
Here are the 2018 projects, listed by county:
- Provide funding for an event hosted by RMEF’s Duck River Chapter in Shelbyville that offers education to youth about conservation, air rifle shooting and archery.
- Convert 40 acres of young forest habitat to meadow forage openings as part of an effort to create an eight-mile wildlife habitat corridor southwest of the elk viewing tower at Hatfield Knob. The project aims to increase connectivity with existing habitat enhancement sites and expand the elk population on the North Cumberland Wildlife Management Area.
- Provide funding to assist with seeding, fertilizing and noxious weed treatments across 34 acres to enhance habitat for elk and other wildlife immediately adjacent to the Hatfield Knob tower.
- Provide Torstenson Family Endowment (TFE) funding for Eco Days, a three-day camp in Tellico Plains for middle schoolers from across the county to learn about conservation, natural resources, forestry and wildlife while taking part in various outdoor activities.
- Provide funding for the purchase of air rifles and other supplies to benefit the White County 4-H air rifle team as it seeks to accommodate additional participants.
Tennessee project partners include the Tennessee Wildlife Resources Agency, Cherokee National Forest, Mildred Edwards Trust Fund and civic, sportsmen, and conservation organizations and groups.
RMEF uses TFE funding solely to further its core mission programs of permanent land protection, habitat stewardship, elk restoration and hunting heritage.