Southern Group of State Foresters unites for shared goals and lasting impacts

EDGEFIELD, SC — From June 12-15, the Southern Group of State Rangers held their annual meeting in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma. This important event brought together forestry leaders from state agencies from across the South to collaborate on emerging issues and major challenges for southern forests and communities.

Prominent leaders and experts representing 13 state forest agencies, along with essential partners, came together for the 2023 meeting, under the theme “The Power of Partnerships: Forest Management in a Changing Environment.” Together, these groups focused on identifying and executing successful strategies to address present and future obstacles, ultimately generating beneficial forest management outcomes.

A series of presentations began on June 13 with keynote addresses by Dr. Homer Wilkes, US Under Secretary for Natural Resources and Environment. After his speech, six notable people from various agencies and organizations took the stage to share their views. Among them was Mark Hatfield, NWTF’s director of conservation services.

Hatfield’s presentation detailed the history of the NWTF and shed light on the various partnership opportunities available within the organization. In addition, he provided an update on the NWTF’s ongoing efforts to support the bushfire crisis strategy through the use of the Inflation Reduction Act and funding from the Bipartisan Infrastructure Act. The IRA is designed to improve the adoption of clean energy sources and mitigate carbon emissions, while the BIL focuses on investing in critical infrastructure such as roads, bridges, public transportation, water systems, resilience measures, and more.

“I appreciated the opportunity to speak with the Southern Group of State Rangers,” Hatfield said. “Partnership building is critical to improving the health of our southern forests, and it’s critical to ensuring we have robust turkey populations and resilient timber markets.”

Subsequent days of the annual event included more interesting meetings, discussions and sessions. The participants delved into various topics related to forestry, exchanging knowledge and points of view. In addition, the event held an awards ceremony, where exceptional forestry professionals from the southern region were recognized and celebrated for their outstanding contributions and achievements.

Overall, the meeting showed the commitment to partnership, knowledge sharing and proactive action required to ensure the long-term vitality of southern forests. Click here for more information on NWTF National Associations.

About the National Wild Turkey Federation

Since 1973, the National Wild Turkey Federation has invested more than half a billion dollars in wildlife conservation and has conserved or improved more than 22 million acres of critical wildlife habitat. The organization continues to advance wildlife conservation, forest resiliency, and robust recreational opportunities across the US by working beyond borders at the landscape scale.

2023 is the 50th of the NWTFhe Anniversary and an opportunity to push the organization’s mission into the future while honoring its rich history. For its 50th anniversary celebration, the NWTF has set itself six ambitious goals: positively impact 1 million acres of wildlife habitat; raise $500,000 for wild turkey research; increase membership to 250,000 members; dedicate $1 million to education and outreach programs; raise $5 million to invest in technology and the people of NWTF; and raise $5 million to build a $50 million endowment for the future. Learn how you can help us achieve these lofty goals.