RMEF Honors: A New Opportunity to Recognize Outstanding Chapters
By Wapiti Wire Staff
At the 2017 National Convention, the Elk Foundation rolled out a brand new award to acknowledge those who embody the mission. RMEF Honors salutes stand-out chapters who have put time, sweat and heart into bettering elk country well beyond the traditional role of fundraising. The very first award recipients are the Hattiesburg Chapter of Hattiesburg, Mississippi, and the Flagstaff Chapter of Flagstaff, Arizona.
There aren’t elk in Mississippi, but there is the Hattiesburg Chapter. Committed to conservation, they have a reputation for tenacity. When a massive tornado whipped through their town in February 2013 and caused extensive damage just days before the fledgling chapter’s banquet, Hattiesburg Chapter members dove in to help with the cleanup. And instead of canceling the banquet, they rallied, working long hours over the next few days to both clean up from the tornado and put the final touches on banquet prep. Over 350 people attended, and the chapter netted over $36,500 dollars—a $14,000 increase from the previous year’s banquet. They also sold 35 sponsorship memberships that night—a Mississippi state record.
The Flaggstaff Chapter was the very first chapter in RMEF history. Chartered in August 1985, they also have bragging rights for holding the very first Big Game Banquet that same month. Though not without its hiccups, over 200 people attended, and the Flagstaff Chapter raised $4,400. Since then, they’ve raised more than $1.7 million to better elk country. But the Flagstaff Chapter’s dedication goes far beyond fundraising; they always put RMEF’s mission first and always go the extra mile to improve elk country. Flagstaff Chapter volunteers have organized numerous hands-on habitat projects for decades. Over the years they’ve played key roles in large habitat enhancement projects in Arizona’s prime elk country, including leading the charge to build the Tusayan Pipeline, an important wildlife water source in the dry Arizona Desert.
The next RMEF Honors Award recipients will be recognized in March 2018. Nominations are accepted year round, and the deadline for next year’s awards is September 1, 2017. For more information about RMEF Honors and to access the nomination form, visit http://www.rmef.org/HowToHelp/Volunteer.aspx.
For more information about this year’s RMEF Honors winners, check out these videos or the May/June 2017 Bugle.