Indiana Wildlife Federation Fights for Natural Resources

Right now, without looking it up, do you know who your state representative is? How about your state senator? Not Federal. Not the polished politicians you sometimes catch a glimpse of on CNN or read about in your statewide newspapers. I’m talking about your local elected representation in the Indiana State Legislature. If you answered no, don’t beat yourself up too bad. Very few people know. But that needs to change. And you need to help.

How many more times are you going to read about the pre-rut, post-spawn, the trout opener, hunting mushrooms and other annual topics before you start digging into the politics of how we maintain such privileges? There is a whole underworld of conservation policy you should be aware of. You should feel somewhat responsible for educating yourself about the often unbelievable attempts by your state legislature to cripple conservation efforts and natural resources protection. I mean, you love the outdoor opportunities available to you because of the efforts of dedicated conservationists who came before us; those responsible for the restoration of water resources and our all but extirpated regional wildlife species – deer, turkey, bear and more. But are you doing your part? What’s keeping you from stepping up and having your voice heard?

You need to be engaging in the politics of conservation for your own interests, but also for future generations of anglers and hunters. Your voice is powerful. As an in district voter, your elected representation better pay attention to you, or they won’t be around long. You need to make sure they understand the importance of political support for conservation, including funding and public land access, to ensure healthy game and fish populations to pursue, and adequate lands on which to make those pursuits.

So how do you keep up with under-reported state politics? Well, the wrong place to turn for political insight is the agency managing fish and wildlife in your state. While these departments do wonderful work, their leaders are bureaucrats tied to administrations. In almost every state, they’re riding high at the pleasure of the Governor. Rocking the boat isn’t acceptable.

Thankfully, most states have non-profit conservation organizations working outside the bounds of government to benefit conservation and natural resources through efforts as diverse as toiling in the dirt to taking on bad policy. In Indiana, that organization is the
Indiana Wildlife Federation (IWF).

The mission of IWF is “To promote the conservation, sound management, and sustainable use of Indiana’s wildlife and wildlife habitat through education, advocacy, and action.”

The IWF is not a part of state government or an entity of a public agency. IWF is a private, non-profit organization made up of thousands of Hoosiers who work together to better our natural resources, and represents Indiana’s citizen conservationists. Actively involved in state and national issues that relate to conservation, the Federation has long been a prominent and effective voice before the Indiana General Assembly, and the Indiana Department of Natural Resources.

The members of IWF are the conscience of Hoosier hunters, fishermen, foresters, campers, trappers, hikers, paddlers, birdwatchers and more. IWF speaks for sportsmen and sportswomen whenever and wherever it is necessary, to support our collective opinions on the future of Indiana outdoors.

Please, do your part to help protect conservation. Consider joining the Indiana Wildlife Federation and become a more engaged citizen. They are already working for you, but IWF needs your financial support to sustain the fight. Check them out online at www.indianawildlife.org.

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Brandon Butler

Long-time outdoor writer and native Hoosier Brandon Butler lives in Missouri and serves as the Executive Director of the Conservation Federation of Missouri. Previously, he worked with the Indiana Department of Natural Resources as Governor Mitch Daniels’ liaison to the department, Director of Sales and Marketing for Dominator365 and as the Marketing Manager Battenfeld Technologies, Inc.

1 COMMENT

  1. Yes, I know who my State Rep is and yes I know the Director of the MDC, Sara Pauley and the past director who for some reason is still on the MDC payroll also as director? and I know the names of the MDC Commissioners but very few others have ever heard of. You would think the commissioners would want to hear from their constituents and how they feel about new laws voted on before passing them. But no, its easier to be a rubber stamp. You would think the commissioners would want their names/addresses/phone numbers put out to the public for contact info. No, it don’t seem like they are at all interested. They have their own agenda’s. Other states wildlife commissioners do want to hear from and post their contact information on their website. To contact our commissioners you have to send your letters to the MDC to forward but you always get a letter back from the MDC that the commissioner wanted the MDC to respond for them? I’ve Had this happen every time.

    And yes, I know what the CFM Executive Director gets paid and is a very nice figure. I remember well when the CFM was a Watchdog over the MDC and actually had oversight. Fighting and protecting the citizens of Missouri against the MDC of some of the new laws proposed. But now its also seems to be just another rubber stamp organization for the MDC. I have asked over 100’s sportsmen and women in west/central Missouri “who is the Conservation Federation of Missouri” and maybe 2% of the sportsman have heard of it but think its part of the MDC? Which I guess they are practically right. I could go on and on and on but how much time do you have? I remember in the 70’s myself as well as many others were out placing flyers on windshields putting on home doors encouraging people to vote for the 1/8 of 1% sales tax. But it seems like today the MDC is forgetting who brought them to this dance. Its sad to think that the Hook&Bullet days of the MDC/CFM are slowly fading away.

    Johnny “dr duck” Everhart

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