You are browsing the archive for United Outdoors Conservation Fund Archives - Union Sportsmen's Alliance.

Union Volunteers, Remington Arms Expand Illinois’ Recreational Shooting Opportunities

April 20, 2020 in Articles, General, Press Release, Work Boots On The Ground

Union volunteers are helping build trap and skeet shooting facilities at Illinois’ Cumberland County Sportsmen’s Club.

Labor union volunteers, the Union Sportsmen’s Alliance (USA) and Remington Arms teamed up to expand public recreational shooting opportunities in Illinois and give a local high school trap team a new home.

Union volunteers donated nearly $30,000 worth of skilled labor, while the USA and Remington provided a $10,000 grant through the USA’s United Outdoors Conservation Fund to build a new trap and skeet shooting complex at the Cumberland County Sportsmen’s Club. The coalition joined forces with local businesses and community members to help push the project forward.

Located south of Champaign near Greenup, the public shooting sports facility will feature an 8-station trap and skeet range, complete with ADA-approved wheelchair accessible walkways. A second trap-only range certified by the Amateur Trapshooting Association is also under construction, and will provide the Cumberland High School Trap Team a welcome base of operations.

“The Cumberland team currently practices at shared facilities that are some distance away, which creates scheduling and transportation hardships for team members and their families,” said Josh McElravy, Central Laborers’ Local 159 member and president of the Lincoln Land Building & Construction Trades Council. “The new range will provide a convenient place to practice and host competitions with shooters from the surrounding area.” It will also benefit other youth and adult shooting programs, including 4-H Shooting Sports, youth events and recreational trap and skeet leagues.

The new range will expand opportunities for shooters of all ages, and give the local high school trap team a new home.

To date, union volunteers from Laborers’ Local 159, Plasterers & Cement Masons Local 143, Operating Engineers Local 841, Electrical Workers Local 702, Bricklayers Local 8 and Carpenters Locals 243 and 270 have donated more than 500 hours of labor valued at nearly $28,000 to the project. The $10,000 grant from the USA and Remington was used to purchase materials and equipment for the trap field.

“The USA is excited to support projects like this,” said USA Conservation Manager Rob Stroede. “We’re proud to join with Remington Arms and the union volunteers donating their time and skills through our Work Boots on the Ground conservation program to help provide a facility that will enable youth to enjoy the shooting sports for years to come.”

Launched in 2010, Work Boots on the Ground has completed more than 230 projects in 31 states. The value of donated volunteer labor exceeds $1.5 million, while outreach events have engaged more than 13,000 participants. The USA’s United Outdoors Conservation Fund further expands the organization’s conservation footprint by providing financial assistant to union-based organizations, conservation groups and agency partners to complete impactful conservation and access projects or outreach programs.

USA Director of Sales and Marketing Jay Stuart noted that Cumberland range users were the first beneficiaries of Remington Arms’ increased support of the USA’s fight to preserve North America’s outdoor heritage.

“Earlier this year, we welcomed Remington Arms as a National Conservation Partner,” he explained. “The Cumberland range is the first project to benefit from this partnership. We are grateful to Remington for providing the financial firepower to help the USA and union volunteers expand opportunities for Illinois shooting enthusiasts of all ages, and we look forward to completing many successful projects together in the future.”

“Remington is proud to be partnered with USA and union volunteers to make this project a reality,” said Remington Director of Marketing Christian Hogg. “We look forward to seeing the young men and women of the Cumberland High School Trap team make use of this facility to hone their skills and promote shooting sports in the area. It will be a great community resource for years to come.”

USA Conservation Dinner Program Kicks Off 2020 Season

February 12, 2020 in Conservation News, General, Press Release

Nearly 200 attendees enjoyed a great time at the USA’s 2020 Conservation Dinners kickoff in Lansing, Michigan.

The Union Sportsmen’s Alliance (USA) Conservation Dinner Program’s 2020 season is off to a fast start, continuing its record-setting growth uniting labor union members for community service and conservation.

The 9th Annual Greater Lansing Labor Council USA Conservation Dinner—the first of 31 such events scheduled across the country this year—kicked off the season with a bang in Lansing, Michigan, recently. “The Lansing dinner drew more people than ever, and that’s what we like to see,” said USA Dinners Program Manager Kevin Grubbs. “It was a great start to a vital program.”

Since 2012, the dinners program has helped fuel the USA’s conservation mission delivery by raising funds and recruiting skilled volunteer labor to complete conservation, public access, education, youth outreach and adult mentorship projects through Work Boots on the Ground (WBG), the USA’s flagship conservation program. Launched in 2010, the program has completed 230 projects in 31 states. The value of volunteer labor donated through WBG is fast approaching $1.5 million, while outreach events have engaged nearly 13,000 participants, including more than 6,000 in 2019.

To date, the USA’s dinner program has hosted more than 37,000 participants at 163 events and raised more than $8.4 million to protect North America’s outdoor heritage.

The dinner format is a recipe for success. USA staff assist local union leadership in organizing and hosting annual dinners that bring members of different unions and other attendees together for an evening of fun and camaraderie in the name of conservation. Proceeds from raffles and auctions for high-quality outdoor gear are dispersed into local conservation accounts and the USA’s United Outdoors Conservation Fund, which is available to participating unions, government agencies and nonprofit partners nationwide.

USA Conservation Dinners raise funds and recruit skilled volunteers to complete conservation, youth outreach and public access projects across the country. Pictured: Four-year-old Natalie Paull caught her first fish while fishing with her father, Adam, on a public pier built by union volunteers in Madison, Wisconsin.

“Our conservation dinners provide fuel for conservation and call volunteers to action for community service,” said USA Director of Union Relations Walt Ingram. “But they’re much more than that. They provide opportunities for the whole house of labor to gather in one place in celebration of the union brotherhood.”

“Plus, every union—whether public or private sector, trade or industrial—has ever-present needs to connect with its members and their families, pass on labor traditions and engage the local community,” he added. “Through dinners and other fundraisers, infrastructure projects and outreach events, the USA provides opportunities to make it all happen in a powerful, long-lasting manner.”

“Conservation dinners remind the local community of union values and demonstrate our commitment to hunting, fishing, conservation and shooting sports,” said Bob Gilmore, of Painters Local 246. Gilmore is a part of a team from the Central Iowa Building & Construction Trades Council that has led USA fundraising dinners in Des Moines since 2015. The Iowa dinners have raised more than $500,000 and funded local projects including the restoration of a handicap-accessible fishing pier and house at Lake Ahquabi State Park and the construction of a large public shelter at Fort Des Moines State Park.

The Des Moines Area USA Conservation Dinner has raised more than $500,000 for conservation.

Ingram says the USA and its supporters are eager to continue building on these successes. “Our goal is to hold at least one conservation dinner and project in every state,” he explained. “We are fortunate to have tremendous support from the national AFL-CIO, state federations of labor, all levels of building and construction trades councils, central labor councils and the organization’s international charter unions and affiliates. With all the interest and support from these organizations, the outlook for achieving that goal is very promising.”

USA Conservation Dinners are open to all. “We welcome union members and their families, along with friends of labor and the many partners who provide valuable services for labor to come enjoy a great evening of fun, fellowship and conservation,” said Ingram.

Next up on the dinner program agenda is the UAW Region 1-D Conservation Dinner in Flint, Michigan, set for February 27. For the complete schedule of 2020 USA Conservation Dinners, visit unionsportsmen.org. For more information, contact USA Dinner Programs Manager Kevin Grubbs at: keving@unionsportsmen.org.

Remington Arms Joins Union Sportsmen’s Alliance as National Conservation Partner

January 13, 2020 in Articles, Conservation News, Press Release

 

Legendary gun maker Remington Arms is providing welcome firepower to the Union Sportsmen’s Alliance’s (USA) fight to preserve North America’s outdoor heritage.

“We are proud to welcome Remington as a National Conservation Partner,” said USA Director of Sales and Marketing Jay Stuart. “Their union-made firearms represent more than two centuries of American ingenuity and craftsmanship, and they have a long history of supporting conservation, outreach and outdoor recreation.”

Remington offers a full suite of industry-leading rifles, shotguns, handguns and ammunition, along with a variety of other fine products. Its lineup includes the storied Model 700 and Model 870, two of the best-selling firearms of all time, along with innovative new platforms like Versa Max shotguns and the high-performance Model 1911 R1 pistol.

“Remington Arms Company is excited to be building an expanded partnership with Union Sportsmen’s Alliance,” said Remington Director of Marketing Christian Hogg. “Their mission towards conservation, preserving our outdoor sporting traditions, and improving public access are core to our corporate values. USA’s focus on securing North America’s outdoor heritage while uniting the union community makes this relationship even more special.”

As a USA National Conservation Partner, Remington will directly support Work Boots on the Ground (WBG), the USA’s flagship conservation program, which organizes union volunteers to complete conservation, public access, education, youth outreach and adult mentorship projects that would otherwise go undone.

Launched in 2010, the program has completed 230 projects in 31 states. The value of volunteer labor donated through WBG is approaching $1.5 million, while outreach events have engaged nearly 13,000 participants, including more than 6,000 in 2019.

Remington’s industry-leading products are popular prizes in USA fundraisers for conservation, community service and youth outreach projects.

“Remington has also stepped up and committed to support our brand new United Outdoors Conservation Fund — an innovative grant funding program that allows the USA to expand its conservation footprint and mission impact,” Stuart added. “Grants in this program are already improving public access to the outdoors and benefiting youth mentorship efforts—and it’s just getting started.”

A portion of this support will be earmarked for a special project, to be selected by Remington, which will be announced at the USA’s Annual Fundraising Gala in Washington, D.C. in the summer of 2020.

The USA and Remington will also collaborate on a significant conservation project or outreach event benefiting communities near the Remington properties in Ilion, NY. The Remington partnership also supports the USA Shooting Tour and USA Conservation Dinner program.

Union Sportsmen’s Alliance Awards Pass It On Youth Mentorship $5,000 Grant

December 5, 2019 in General, Press Release

As part of a Pass It On mentor recruitment effort, local IBEW and SMART members joined high school trap shooters and youth from Big Brothers Big Sisters for an evening dove hunt.

Hundreds of at-risk youth will experience the joys of hunting, fishing and other outdoor activities under the guidance of caring mentors, thanks to a $5,000 grant from the Union Sportsmen’s Alliance (USA) United Outdoors Conservation Fund.

The USA recently issued the grant to Pass It On – Outdoor Mentors. Based in Wichita, Kansas, Pass It On partners with state agencies, conservation and youth organizations to introduce youth to the outdoors.

Stemming from a partnership between Kansas Big Brothers Big Sisters and the Kansas Department of Wildlife and Parks, Pass It On takes a unique approach to outreach by concentrating on at-risk children with little or no connection to the outdoors. These children typically come from low-income, single-parent homes, and most would never have the opportunity to learn about fishing, hunting or the shooting sports.

The USA grant will be used to recruit at least 15 USA members to serve as long-term mentors, as well as manage the resulting youth-mentor relationships and organize outdoor activities for youth on the waiting list for a mentor.

“USA members who have a passion for the outdoors and successful careers in the trades serve as excellent role models for at-risk youth,” said Pass It On President Mike Christensen. “The goal is to lead participants to a life that embraces the great outdoors and give them a vision of a life greater than that of their current environment.”

Case in point: USA Member Dana Schweers. Mentored by Christensen as a teenager, Schweers, of Valley Center, Kansas, is now an avid outdoorsman and hard-working member of Sheet Metal Workers Local 29—part of the International Association of Sheet Metal, Air, Rail and Transportation Workers (SMART).

“There’s no doubt I wouldn’t be the man I am today without him,” Schweers said of Christensen. “I was 12 or 13 when we met. Our family didn’t have a lot and my dad was disabled, so he couldn’t take me hunting or fishing. Mike stepped up and introduced me to the outdoors. He took me fishing or hunting almost every weekend I didn’t have a football game. And when I had a game, he’d always be there, cheering me on.

Schweers and Christensen in the field after a successful mentored hunt.

“Mike also encouraged me to apply for a Sheet Metal Workers apprenticeship,” Schweers noted. “I was hired as a helper until I got into the apprenticeship program, which provided me with four years of on-the-job training before I became a journeyman.”

Schweers also volunteers his time introducing youth to the outdoors. “It’s important for me to give back because Pass It On gave so much to me,” he explained. “Volunteering is also very rewarding. You can literally help change someone’s life for the better. Plus, it feels good to watch kids enjoy their first hunting or fishing experience. The excitement on their faces is priceless.”

Today, Schweers enjoys sharing his passion for the outdoors with young people in his community.

Pass It On is among the first recipients to be awarded a USA grant from the United Outdoors Conservation Fund, which was unveiled in late 2018 to expand the organization’s conservation footprint. Through a grant application process, the fund provides financial assistant to union-based organizations, conservation groups and agency partners to execute impactful conservation and access projects or outreach programs.

“The launch of the fund last year represented a major stride toward further growth in the number of conservation projects and outreach events the USA, our union locals, conservation allies and agency partners can accomplish,” said USA Conservation and Communications Director Forrest Parker. “The grant awarded to Pass It On’s mentoring program is not just a first step along that path, it’s a shining example of where it will lead.”

“Too many children today never get the chance to experience the great outdoors many of us know and love,” added Christensen. “We have to step up our efforts to get them outdoors. USA members are ideal outdoor mentor candidates, as they represent the backbone of this country—hard-working, responsible, ethical men and women who want to share their passion for the outdoors with a child. We’re looking forward to working with USA to get more kids outdoors, hunting and fishing!”

For more information on the United Outdoors Conservation Fund or to apply for a grant, visit: http://unionsportsmen.org/grantfund.

USA Grant, Union Volunteers Boost Ottawa NWR Fishing Access

December 2, 2019 in Conservation News, Fishing, Press Release

Ottawa National Wildlife Refuge (NWR) visitors now enjoy greater access and fishing opportunities, thanks to union volunteers and a $10,000 grant from the Union Sportsmen’s Alliance (USA) United Outdoors Conservation Fund.

Located in northwest Ohio on the shore of Lake Erie, Ottawa NWR is popular among those in search of outdoor adventures. Each year, the refuge hosts an increasing number of students for environmental education programs. While fishing is a key component, the refuge lacked a safe and accessible place for children to learn to fish. Instead, staff utilized a mowed grass trail next to a pond near the visitor center.

The USA grant was awarded to the Friends of Ottawa National Wildlife Refuge to support its Anglers for Tomorrow initiative, which included construction of a wheelchair-accessible, 100-foot concrete trail and three fishing platforms along the pond.

In October, volunteers from United Auto Workers (UAW) Local 12 and Utility Workers Union of America (UWUA) Local G-555 completed the piers. Volunteers from Friends of Ottawa NWR, along with refuge employees, also participated in the project. The new structures increase fishing participation by providing wheelchair access and reducing the threat of insect bites and injuries associated with the trail used prior to the project.

Before the fishing platforms were constructed, Ottawa NWR had only a grass trail to provide temporary fishing access to the Visitor Center pond.

“It was great to work with partners who bring different backgrounds and skills to the table for a common goal,” said Friends of Ottawa NWR Executive Director Aimee Arent. “The refuge operates under the knowledge that connecting children to conservation supports their growth into stewards of tomorrow. This project will help ensure the realization of this goal.”

In late 2018, the USA unveiled its United Outdoors Conservation Fund to expand its conservation footprint. Through a grant application process, the fund provides financial assistant to union-based organizations, conservation groups and agency partners to execute impactful conservation and access projects or outreach programs.

The Friends of Ottawa NWR grant was one of the first issued through the new program, and the first to be completed.

“This new grant fund allows the USA and its partners to operate in a way that not only increases the impact of our projects but also engages many more stakeholders and communities,” explained USA Conservation and Communications Director Forrest Parker. “It also enables Organized Labor to make a significant and substantial difference in our country’s conservation future.”

For more information on the fund or to apply for a grant, visit: http://unionsportsmen.org/grantfund.

Friends of Ottawa NWR used their USA grant to construct three fishing platforms with the help of UAW Local 12 and UWUA Local G-555 volunteers.

Union Sportsmen’s Alliance Unveils United Outdoors Conservation Fund

January 17, 2019 in Conservation News, General, Press Release, Work Boots On The Ground

The Union Sportsmen’s Alliance’s new United Outdoors Conservation Fund will provide significant financial resources to union-based organizations and other partners to harness the power of union volunteers as a force for conservation.

Building on record-setting increases in partnerships and completed projects, the Union Sportsmen’s Alliance (USA) is proud to unveil the United Outdoors Conservation Fund—an innovative grant funding program that will allow the organization to further expand its conservation footprint and mission impact.

The fund will provide significant financial resources to union-based organizations, conservation-based non-profit organizations and agency partners to execute impactful conservation and public access projects, and conservation outreach, education and mentoring programs to benefit their local communities.

The monies available through the United Outdoors Conservation Fund are generated through a variety of sources including USA conservation dinners, corporate sponsorships and major donations.

“In the wake of major conservation successes in 2017, the USA has continued to expand its infrastructure projects and community engagement events,” said USA CEO and Executive Director Scott Vance. “The launch of our United Outdoors Conservation Fund is a huge step toward further growth as it will both increase the number of conservation projects and events and open the door for even larger scale efforts.

“This grant fund empowers the USA, our union locals, conservation allies and agency partners to put public-private partnerships into motion in a way that not only increases the impact of our projects but also engages many more stakeholders and communities,” he continued. “It will enable labor to make a significant and substantial difference in our country’s conservation future.”

A variety of conservation projects and outreach efforts that benefit local communities will qualify for funding.

Since launching its flagship conservation initiative, Work Boots on the Ground (WBG), to connect union volunteers with hands-on conservation projects that would otherwise go undone, the USA has executed more than 150 projects across the nation. Both the pace and scope of these efforts has increased dramatically in recent months. The organization celebrated its 100th WBG project in the fall of 2017 and coordinated the completion of more than 50 projects in 2018.

The USA has also built a track record of partnering with other non-profit organizations, state and federal agencies, companies and communities to benefit all stakeholders while helping preserve North America’s outdoor heritage.

To be considered for United Outdoors Conservation Fund support, projects must address a conservation need and benefit the community, as well as provide opportunities for multi-partner involvement and coordination using union volunteers and their families to execute the project. Infrastructure, community outreach and wildlife habitat projects on public or private property are admissible, but the property must be accessible to the public.

Examples include improving public access to the outdoors, restoring public parks, educating youth about the outdoors, introducing young adults to the union trades through conservation and conserving critical wildlife habitat.

Any union organization that has completed a USA conservation dinner or fundraising shoot in the past 18 months or a local union that is a member of USA’s new Partner Local program with at least half of its membership being active USA members may apply. Grant funds are also available to conservation-based non-profit organizations and local, state and federal agencies that work with unions.

Proposals for USA grants will be submitted in a two-stage process. The first stage includes an initial application (Letter of Intent). Selected applicants advance to the second stage of the grant process and are invited to submit full proposals.

Applications must be completed online at: unionsportsmen.org/grantfund. For additional information or questions regarding the United Outdoors Conservation Fund, email conservation@unionsportsmen.org.