MISSOULA, Mont. — The Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation celebrates National Volunteer Week by shining a spotlight on the significant contributions of its volunteer army in 2022 that amounted to more than $26.3 million in value of donated time and labor.
“When I think of an RMEF volunteer, what I think about is our greatest asset this organization has,” said Kyle Weaver, RMEF president and CEO. “They give us the most valuable thing they have which is their time. And there’s nothing more important or more impactful for this organization than an individual’s time toward our mission.”
That time is also measurable. According to the Independent Sector, which uses information supplied by the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, the current value of one volunteer hour is $29.95.
If you do the math, RMEF has approximately 11,000 volunteers of all ages and backgrounds from more than 500 chapters who each average about 80 hours of service annually. That equates to $26,356,000 of total conservation value for RMEF’s mission.
“Most people recognize RMEF for the work it does to conserve and enhance habitat for elk as well as the beneficial trickle-down effects on mule deer, moose, whitetail deer, wild turkey and a plethora of other wildlife species that result from that,” said Fred Lekse, RMEF Board of Directors chair and also a volunteer. “What they may not fully comprehend is how integral of a role our volunteers play in that process. We simply cannot do that work without each of them around the country.”
Volunteers plan and host hundreds of banquets and other events that generate vital funding to ensure the future of elk, other wildlife, their habitat and our hunting heritage. They also give of their time for boots on the ground projects.
From landscape improvement in Virginia to assisting youth archery teams in Pennsylvania, removing dilapidated fencing in Missouri, planting shrub seedlings in Utah, building wildlife water sources in Arizona, removing debris from forestland in Oregon, and serving as mentors on youth hunts in multiple states, volunteers participate in scores of habitat enhancement and hunting heritage projects nationwide.
“We’ll never have too many people involved. There’s always a need for more,” said Weaver.
Click here to learn what RMEF volunteers do and to watch them in action. National Volunteer Week is celebrated annually the third week of April.
About the Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation:
Founded more than 38 years ago and fueled by hunters, RMEF maintains more than 225,000 members and has conserved more than 8.6 million acres for elk and other wildlife. RMEF also works to open and improve public access, fund and advocate for science-based resource management, and ensure the future of America’s hunting heritage. Discover why “Hunting Is Conservation™” at rmef.org or 800-CALL ELK.