Nashville, TN—In the last year—amidst nationwide debates over Unions and a wavering economy—the Union Sportsmen’s Alliance has worked with local Union members to establish volunteer aid for nearly a dozen state fish and wildlife organizations.
With more than six million active and retired labor Union members hunting, fishing, and spending time together with their families in the outdoors, the Union Sportsmen’s Alliance’s conservation program Boots on the Ground, brings together federal, state and local government agencies with Union members willing to volunteer their time and expertise to tackle conservation projects that improve and enhance public access, wildlife habitat and outdoor experiences for communities across America.
Answering requests from Alaska, Florida, Maine, Michigan, Nevada, North Dakota, South Dakota, Texas and Washington, the Union Sportsmen’s Alliance took the conservation fight outdoors by kicking off its inaugural Boots on the Ground project inWisconsin—a state that has recently been at the forefront of Union debates.
Volunteers from five Wisconsin AFL-CIO locals partnered with the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources during the first BOTG program to provide crucial, skilled manpower to build 100 live-catch deer cages—saving the department nearly $25,000 in labor costs. Used to trap and radio-collar or ear tag deer as part of a research study, this unique partnership benefitted hunters and Wisconsin residents impacted by the deer population statewide.
“The Boots on the Ground program is one of the best ways the USA can help re-instill a sense of pride and hope in our communities,” said USA Executive Director Fred Myers. “Programs like these highlight the positive role Union members play in America and move us all toward a better and more sustainable country worthy of passing on to our children.”
Unlike, private conservation groups, the USA’s Boots on the Ground volunteers work with federal, state and local governments that have identified a strong need for help. With half a dozen projects currently in the works from Alaska to Texas, Union members all over the country are stepping up to supplement funding and manpower gaps with their invaluable contributions of time and expertise.
“A program using skilled volunteers such as the USA’s Boots On the Ground helps state wildlife agencies accomplish a lot of great projects that otherwise would be limited or not done at all” said Terry Steinwand, Director of the North Dakota Game and Fish Department.
In 2007 the Theodore Roosevelt Conservation Partnership and Union leaders saw a unique opportunity to form a conservation based organization—the Union Sportsmen’s Alliance. Working exclusively with North America’s single largest unified community of sportsmen and women, the USA’s goal is to improve wildlife habitat and ensure access to hunting and fishing lands for future generations.
In May 2010, just three years after its creation, the Union Sportsmen’s Alliance grew strong enough to become a stand-alone hunting, fishing and conservation organization with more than 20,000 members from across the U.S. and Canada. For more information or to find out how you can get involved, visit www.unionsportsmen.org.
The Union Sportsmen’s Alliance (USA) is a 501 (c) (4) conservation based hunting and fishing organization exclusively for Union members, retirees and their families. The USA works to expand and improve hunting and fishing access and wildlife habitat throughout North America. For more information, visithttp://www.unionsportsmen.org.
For more information, contact:
Laura Bliss Morris
Public Relations Coordinator