You are browsing for May 2013 - Union Sportsmen's Alliance.

NJ Pheasant Program Gets a Boost from Union Members

May 29, 2013 in Articles, Conservation News, Hunting, Work Boots On The Ground

The explosive flush, the beautifully patterned tail of a rooster in flight, the pride in a successful shot and a delicious meal after a day in the field–that’s what pheasant hunting is all about. Though New Jersey is the most densely populated U.S. state, approximately 12,000 residents hunt pheasant. This is made possible through the NJ Division of Fish and Wildlife pheasant program, which raises and releases 50,000 pheasants annually across 24 Wildlife Management Areas that encompass about 100,000 acres.

This year, led by Tom Mattingley of IBEW Local 351, union volunteers from Electrical Workers Local 351 and 164, Insulators Local 14, Pipefitters Local 322, Sheet Metal Workers Local 27, Painters District Council 711 and Operating Engineers Local 542 teamed up to use their time and skills to support NJ Fish and Wildlife by raising funds and building the boxes needed to transport the pheasants.

Eager to help organize a USA Conservation Dinner and Boots on the Ground project in his area, Mattingley contacted a NJ Fish and Wildlife officer to find out how union members could assist the agency.

“In today’s world, when you walk up to a stranger and say you want to build something for them and also raise the funds to do it, they look at you like you have three eyes,” Mattingley said. “But I asked what we could do to benefit New Jersey sportsmen, and they suggested we build pheasant transport boxes.”

Check for $5,000 is presented to BOTG Pheasant Box Project Committee

Check for $5,000 is presented to BOTG Pheasant Box Project Committee

From there, everything began to fall into place. Using $5,000 from the money union members raised at USA’s 1st Annual Tri-State Area Conservation Dinner last fall, Mattingley purchased planked cedar to build the boxes. After volunteering at the conservation dinner and learning about the project, John Stahl III, the Apprenticeship Administrator for Insulators Local 14, coordinated volunteers to build the boxes. And after finding that one of his instructors, Don Mullins, has a complete woodworking shop behind his house, they soon had a location to build them.
“I think projects like this show what we’re all about,” Mullins said. “We’re not just individuals. We’re a brotherhood that works together to get things done.”

Armed with tablesaws, planers and Mattingley’s best drafting sketches in a shop that looks like it’s right out of the TV show, This Old House, union volunteers are cutting, shaping, drilling and constructing the lumber into specifically sized, stackable boxes that fit into a truck and hold 14 birds each. Once the boxes are all built, they’ll be painted by the 3rd year apprentices of Painters District Council 711. According to Mattingley, they’re a work of art–like bird condominiums.

(L-R) Don Mullins and Ray MacDowell

(L-R) Don Mullins and Ray MacDowell

“By raising money for materials and building the boxes, we’ve lessened the burden on the NJ Fish and Wildlife’s limited funds, so they can spend them on other things like more land,” Stahl said. “We can’t help them acquire more land, but we can sure help them with projects like this, and every little bit helps.”

For those interested in organizing a Boots on the Ground project, Mattingley offers this advice, “Don’t be afraid to ask what you can do. When this project got started, I didn’t know what we were going to do, but I went to the NJ Fish and Game, and they pointed us to the bird boxes. And through the bird boxes, I found the Insulators who have a woodshop and then the painters to paint the boxes. So instead of me trying to put this all together, it just sort of fell in place.”

“We need to get involved in conservation efforts because it’s our heritage, and we need to preserve our hunting privileges and lands,” Mattingley added. “The state Fish and Wildlife needs not only financial help but they need ‘hands on tools,’ and we have the skills.”

Click here to see more photos of this project.

Nashville Building Trades and Union Sportsmen’s Alliance Team Up for Local Conservation Efforts

May 21, 2013 in Press Release

Nashville, TN – The Nashville Building and Construction Trades Council (BCTC) and Union Sportsmen’s Alliance (USA) have joined forces to help Tennessee residents and visitors better enjoy our public land at a local state park–just in time for summer. A popular bridge for hikers at Montgomery Bell State Park was washed away in the 2010 flood, and hikers have since been forced to use a small temporary bridge further down the creek.

According to the National Association of State Park Directors, there are 6,624 state parks in the U.S. that receive nearly three-quarters of a billion annual visits and generate $20 billion in economic benefits. These parks are continually faced with budget cuts and have a backlog of repair and restoration projects. Through the USA’s new Adopt-A-Park program, USA members will volunteer their time and unique skills to renew, rebuild and restore America’s parks, whether by restoring a weathered visitor’s center, rebuilding the park ranger station or modernizing the facilities.

Looking to complete one of its inaugural Adopt-A-Park projects locally, USA Executive Director, Fred Myers, met with Park Manager, Pat Wright, and later Nashville BCTC President, Anthony Nicholson, to discuss possible conservation needs.

Union Members Begin Work on the Montgomery Bell State Park Bridge

Union Members Begin Work on the Montgomery Bell State Park Bridge

“There was an obvious need for repair to this bridge that was unfortunately washed away in the floods,” Myers said. “Anthony and the rest of the Nashville Building Trades didn’t hesitate in volunteering their skills and time and donating supplies for the rebuild. Their support is a tremendous help to the Middle Tennessee community.”

Throughout the rest of May, union members will spend their Saturdays at the park completing the bridge rebuild, with an estimated completion date of June 1, 2013. All lumber used in the project is reclaimed wood from fallen trees in the park and building supplies have been generously donated by the Nashville Building Trades.

“Growing up near the park, I felt a personal obligation to be a part of this project,” said Nicholson. “Thankfully, the Nashville BCTC shared my passion for it. It really is a great show of local support, all around, for the community and conservation. Even the cost and labor to turn the fallen trees in the park into lumber were donated by Spann Brothers Lumber.”
# # #
The Union Sportsmen’s Alliance (USA) is a union-dedicated outdoor organization whose members hunt, fish, shoot and volunteer their skills for conservation. The USA is uniting the union community to expand and improve hunting and fishing access and wildlife habitat while passing on our national outdoor heritage. For more information, visit www.unionsportsmen.org or www.facebook.com/unionsportsmen.

NJ Sporting Clays Shoot Triples Attendance & Raises Eight Times as Many Dollars to Support USA’s Conservation Efforts

May 15, 2013 in Press Release

Nashville, TN – Attendance for the 2013 Union Sportsmen’s Alliance’s SMART New Jersey Sporting Clays Shoot tripled from 2012. On May 4 in Port Republic, NJ, more than 90 union members, shooting enthusiasts, corporate partners and other guests from across the state gathered in support of their unions and the Union Sportsmen’s Alliance’s conservation efforts. Through the support of Helmets to Hardhats and the Freedom Alliance, 34 shooter spots were donated by our sponsors and filled by veterans and active duty service men and women.

Union Members Have a Blast at NJ Clay Shoot

Union Members Have a Blast at NJ Clay Shoot

Thanks, in large part, to the Sheet Metal, Air, Rail and Transportation Workers (SMART) International and its leadership for hosting the event, the shoot also set a financial record. This year, participants raised eight times as many dollars as the 2012 event, for a total of $60,905.

“The support SMART General President Joe Nigro, Secretary‐Treasurer Joe Sellers and Assistant to the General President Marc Norberg have continued to give is immeasurable. The obvious success of this event can be can be directly tied to their title sponsorship this year and unwavering dedication to the USA conservation mission,” said USA Executive Director Fred Myers. Myers displayed his own dedication to the USA cause by driving to the New Jersey shoot from Nashville.

The USA’s robust, 26‐city sporting clays and trap shoot tour will travel to 25 cities across 19 states in 2013. Raising imperative funding to support the USA’s conservation mission, the national tour also introduces skilled union volunteers to the impact they can make on conservation projects in the communities where they live work and play. For more information or to find out how you can get involved, visit www.unionsportsmen.org/events

# # #

The Union Sportsmen’s Alliance (USA) is a union‐dedicated outdoor organization whose members hunt, fish, shoot and volunteer their skills for conservation. The USA is uniting the union community to expand and improve hunting and fishing access and wildlife habitat while passing on our national outdoor heritage. For more information, visit www.unionsportsmen.org or www.facebook.com/unionsportsmen.