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Wildlife Foundation Preserves Habitat

   Created only two years ago, the Tennessee Wildlife Resources Foundation has already achieved results that will forever benefit sportsmen, but a desire to create more hunting and fishing opportunities across the state will require action from outdoorsmen.
   "We have been able to make some great things happen by acquiring needed funds through grants, but we need help from Tennessee's hunters and fishermen to make giant strides we hope to take in Tennessee," noted David Duval, executive director of the foundation.
   During its brief existence, the foundation has helped purchase a 50,000-acre tract of wetland in East Tennessee, has obtained a grant from the Tennessee Valley Authority to help build paved paths for wheelchair-bound hunters, and has worked to strengthen Tennessee's Hunters for the Hungry program.
   A group of sportsmen formed the foundation in late 1999 to pursue projects deemed important by the state's wildlife management agency, but that were often beyond reach of the Tennessee Wildlife Resources Agency.
   Although successful with numerous wildlife recovery and land acquisition goals during its 50-year history, the TWRA is a government entity frequently handcuffed by budget restraints and policy restrictions.
   "The Wildlife Foundation is not officially attached to TWRA, but it operates closely with agency professionals," explained Duval. "While obtaining public land is one of our biggest tasks, we have other projects underway or planned. In the end, everything we do, and will do, is for the benefit of sportsmen and for wildlife."
   That is why the foundation recently opened membership to individuals and is particularly seeking sportsmen as supporters. "We had to get our organization off the ground before we could solicit individual members, but we are off the ground now and we want hunters and fishermen to join the foundation," said Duval. "I hope we can get at least half of the state's sportsmen to come join us."
   While the cost of membership is only $25 per year, the sum total will help the foundation plan projects that before 1999 could only be dreamed about by TWRA biologists, wildlife officers, and agency executives.

   "That's all we are asking is $25," said Duval. "Memberships will help us work toward acquiring more public land, and toward more projects to manage our wildlife and fish. New members will receive a vehicle decal and a membership card that shows they support the foundation."
   Checks or money orders can be sent to the Tennessee Wildlife Resources Foundation (or TWRF) at PO Box 110031, Nashville, TN 37222.
   "The money will be put to good use," said Duval. "We believe firmly in the importance of our natural resources and access to those resources by the public. We live in a great state that for sportsmen can get even better with their help."
 Other Wildlife Foundation projects underway include: 

*Working with TWRA and other organizations to obtain enough funds in an effort to purchase more than 80,000 acres of land adjacent to Royal Blue Wildlife Management Area in East Tennessee, a popular hunting site.
*Working with TWRA and other organizations in an effort to obtain a large tract of property adjacent to Anderson Tully Wildlife Management area in West Tennessee, also popular with hunters.
*Working with TWRA to publish a habitat improvement booklet for Tennessee's farmers that could help improve the future for small game, such as rabbit and quail.




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