Adopt-A-Habitat Project Near You
By Dave Wiley, Oregon Mission Team Leader
Volunteers from RMEF’s John Day Chapter teamed up with Oregon Hunters Association volunteers and U.S. Forest Service staff to build buck and pole fence for an aspen enclosure on the Prairie City Ranger District, Malheur National Forest. Photo by Mark Bagett
Volunteer-run habitat projects are almost always a resounding success. Here in Oregon, we annually stage several projects, but we can do many more. These projects benefit everyone involved, most of all the wildlife. Plus they are just plain fun and a great opportunity to engage young people.
The challenge is how to get more chapters involved. Opportunities abound. For instance, each year our Oregon Project Advisory Committee (PAC) grants funding for 25 to 30 habitat projects, and about two-thirds of those projects can use help from volunteers.
In Oregon we’ve launched a program called Adopt-A-Habitat Project to recruit chapters to provide the manpower for a PAC project in their area. We divided the state into five regions, each with a lead volunteer assigned to bring chapters together with an agency person who has received a PAC grant for a habitat project.
To get the ball rolling each year, I send out a list of new PAC-funded projects, sorted by region, with information about the type of volunteer work available and the agency contact. I email the list to the mission team regional volunteers, chapter chairs and agency project coordinators, along with a message encouraging them to team up on a volunteer habitat project. The mission team members then contact the chapters and grant recipients in their areas and work to marry volunteers with projects.
Most or all RMEF chapters in Oregon have a PAC-funded habitat project within a two-hour drive of their location. With the price of gas these days, it makes good sense to connect a chapter to a project close to home.
This does take a little work, but the results are well worth the effort. Why not give it a try?