The National Wild Turkey Federation has a long and proud history of fulfilling its mission: We are dedicated to the conservation of the wild turkey and the preservation of our hunting heritage. We have been able to achieve nearly 50 years of success by growing and evolving the way we operate as an organization.
Today, most of our staff spend much less time in a formal office environment. The technology provides additional flexibility and has simplified many of our support functions. Staff members are now deployed across the country, creating efficiencies, a better understanding of regional needs, and allowing staff and volunteers to communicate and collaborate more effectively. These changes began years ago, but the pandemic has accelerated the pace of change. Consequently, headquarters-based staff and central office functions require less space.
In addition, the outdoor industry has grown with us and now provides many services, including storage and shipping of bulk order merchandise, on a contract basis that is cost effective and efficient. This has gradually changed the way we approach fundraising through chapter banquets.
Recognizing that our facility and space needs have changed, the NWTF National Board of Directors and our senior leadership team spent this past spring and summer researching options and considering the best path forward to build on NWTF’s success. In August, the board unanimously voted to implement a strategic plan for the Wild Turkey Center in Edgefield, South Carolina, consisting of three steps:
- Move the museum collections to a place with greater exposure and audience reach.
- Outsource storage and fulfillment of banquet merchandise to a third party, and sell current storage facilities.
- Invest in suitable office space for headquarters (owned or leased) and sell current headquarters facilities.
Details of the actions the NWTF is taking include
The museum ? The tremendous stories of wild turkey restoration across the United States and the people who led this effort are vital to preserve and use to educate future generations. We are pleased to share that we are in talks with Johnny Morris, founder and CEO of Bass Pro Shops, longtime friend of the NWTF, and noted conservationist, to relocate our museum to the Wonders of Wildlife National Museum and Aquarium located in Springfield, Missouri. We are currently working out the details of the museum’s relocation and will share more information with you in the coming months.
Through Morris’s vision and generosity, the National Wonders of Wildlife Museum and Aquarium has become a major tourist destination, attracting more than 1 million visitors each year and helping Springfield become known as the Capital of the United States Conservation.
Storage and fulfillment of goods ? Now that our chapters can order directly from preferred vendors and the NWTF now offers a more limited exclusive base package of merchandise for chapter fundraising banquets, we only use a fraction of the NWTF’s warehousing space for merchandise compared to 10 years ago. Going forward, a third party will be selected in the coming months to take over storage and shipping of NWTF merchandise. Our hardworking warehouse staff will be offered other available positions within the NWTF or severance packages as we phase out warehouse operations in Edgefield over the next year. We plan to put the warehouse building and adjoining parking lot/land up for sale.
Palmetto Shooting Complex and Headquarters Office Space ? The current headquarters office building in Edgefield is too large for the core business support functions of the NWTF. Moving to more efficient office space in the area will allow us to invest in systems and infrastructure that better support the organization. The NWTF will retain and continue to operate the Palmetto Shooting Complex in Edgefield and will consider building a new headquarters near the Complex as an option. Once a suitable office alternative is determined, the current headquarters building and adjoining land will be offered for sale.
As we expand and grow the NWTF, additional regional center locations will be evaluated to better support our volunteer network, mission, members and staff. Our goal is to invest in the structure of our organization and position ourselves to best meet current and future needs, including on a regional level.
It is expected that this plan will be sequenced and implemented in a manner that allows for a smooth transition so that we can properly relocate our business functions, staff, and files. Proceeds from property sales will be reinvested in the organization to support our mission across the country and ensure the long-term health of the NWTF.
As we implement this strategic plan, we will be mindful of and respectful of all those who contributed to our current home campus and the treasures that help tell our story. Our people, our mission, and our history of achievement are what truly make the NWTF special. We will keep all of you and our members informed during these transitions, allowing us to modernize our organization and position the NWTF for continued success in the years to come.