(left to right) South Carolina Senate Majority Leader Shane Massey, NWTF CEO Becky Humphries, NWTF Director of Hunting Heritage Programs Mandy Harling, South Carolina State Forester Gene Kodama, SFI Forest Partners Program Director Barry Graden and NWTF Museum and Education Manager Charner Boney
EDGEFIELD, S.C. — The National Wild Turkey Federation celebrated the completion of the "Connecting Forests to the Community" project with its partners by hosting a ribbon cutting on the Outdoor Education Center portion of its 700-acre campus.
Partners on this project include: Sustainable Forestry Initiative, South Carolina Forestry Commission, Natural Resources Conservation Service, Bayer Crop Sciences, Roundstone Seed and Strom Thurmond High School FFA.
"With the help of our dedicated partners, our Outdoor Education Center trail systems, and additional portions of our campus, offer educational signage," said NWTF CEO Becky Humphries. "Visitors can learn about the diverse habitats we manage at our facilities, discover the wildlife that benefits from our work and also learn about the roles forestry and agriculture industries play in helping to provide a better tomorrow."
The completion of the $55,000 project provides NWTF members and visitors the chance to engage in a trail system enhanced by interpretive signs and a pollinator area.
The signage promotes active forest management endorsed by the NWTF. The pollinator area, built in conjunction with Strom Thurmond High School FFA students, features a bat house, honey bee hives, a butterfly garden and a self-sustaining organic garden.
The project also provided an opportunity for improvements on the property, including the restoration of a longleaf pine forest, hardwood bottom habitat improvements, wetland and forest habitat improvements along the streams, creating wildlife openings and quail and food plot demonstration areas.
It also includes a bluebird trail with 100 nest boxes provided by the American Bluebird Society of Aiken and South Carolina Department of Natural Resources. The boxes were installed by Boy Scout troops and constructed with SFI certified wood.
The project enhances work the NWTF is already doing, such as hosting educational field trips with curricula focused on forestry; USDA Forest Service and South Carolina Forestry meetings; landowner educational workshops; wildlife habitat certification classes; wildlife and forestry research projects; and hands-on educational opportunities for high school and college students.
About the National Wild Turkey Federation
When the National Wild Turkey Federation was founded in 1973, there were about 1.3 million wild turkeys in North America. After decades of work, that number hit a historic high of almost 7 million turkeys. To succeed, the NWTF stood behind science-based conservation and hunters' rights. Today, the NWTF is focused on the future of hunting and conservation through its Save the Habitat. Save the Hunt. initiative – a charge that mobilizes science, fundraising and devoted volunteers to conserve or enhance more than 4 million acres of essential wildlife habitat, recruit at least 1.5 million hunters and open access to 500,000 acres for hunting. For more information, visit NWTF.org.
National Wild Turkey Federation
770 Augusta Rd., Edgefield, SC 29824
For more information, contact Pete Muller at (803) 637-7698