MISSOULA, Mont. – The Boone and Crockett Club announced today that it has received a $50,000 grant through the Bass Pro Shops and Cabela’s Outdoor Fund to support policy outreach, research on chronic wasting disease, and the Club’s Poach & Pay project to address wildlife crime. This year’s grant also included a new area of interest – a virtual education curriculum created at and distributed from the Rasmuson Wildlife Conservation Center located on the Boone and Crockett Club’s Theodore Roosevelt Memorial (TRM) Ranch in north central Montana. The new, multi-faceted virtual education approach brings the TRM Ranch and all of its Rocky Mountain ecosystem inhabitants into the lives of classroom teachers and students through a variety of formats including augmented reality applications, Facebook live events, and downloadable electronic trail-camera curriculum modules. The lesson plans adhere to “Next Generation Science Standards” utilized by educators.
“Thanks to the support of the Bass Pro Shops and Cabela’s Outdoor Fund, we have made major strides on forest management policy, funding for conservation efforts, and improving access to federal lands and waters,” said Tony A. Schoonen, Boone and Crockett Club Chief Executive Officer. “Now with the additional support for our virtual education program, our nation’s youth will be able to learn about North American wildlife, including alpha predators like wolves and grizzlies, through the photos collected through our network of trail cameras and our live webcam.”
The Boone and Crockett Club traditionally hosts in-person education opportunities on the TRM Ranch, however in 2020 all of the Outdoor Adventure Camps and Boy Scout High-Adventure operations were cancelled due to COVID-19. But the dark cloud of the pandemic began to show a silver lining as Boone and Crockett Club Director of Conservation Programs Luke Coccoli, assisted by the Club’s conservation intern Madison Todd, began to utilize wildlife photos and video from the many trail cameras scattered around the ranch to create a virtual outdoor education experience for youth. While the original intent of the cameras was to monitor interaction between livestock and wildlife, Coccoli and Todd were able to repurpose the photos and videos for conservation education.
“The initial response was very positive” said Coccoli. “Thanks to this support from the Bass Pro Cabela’s Outdoor Fund we’ll be able to enhance and streamline our virtual production capabilities as well as distribute our educational content faster and to a wider audience”
“The incredible diversity of wildlife, natural resources and sporting freedoms we enjoy today would not be possible without the hard work of the Boone & Crockett Club,” said Bob Ziehmer, Bass Pro Shops and Cabela’s Senior Director of Conservation. “We are pleased to continue our support of the Club’s critical advocacy, research and education programs that are making a difference for the future of the outdoors. We sincerely thank our customers for enabling this grant by rounding up purchases to the Bass Pro Shops and Cabela’s Outdoor Fund.”
In addition to the education curriculum, the Bass Pro Shops and Cabela’s Outdoor Fund grant will support the Club’s conservation advocacy efforts in Washington, D.C., and state legislatures on issues including habitat health, wildlife health, and public access. In 2020, the Club was actively engaged on several policy initiatives that resulted in the passage of the Great American Outdoors Act, the American Conservation Enhancement Act, and several other notable conservation victories. This year, the Club is actively engaging on forest management legislation as well as landscape conservation efforts that will provide natural climate solutions. In addition, the grant will continue to support the Club’s Poach & Pay project, which this year will focus on research to assess the barriers to prosecuting wildlife crime, evaluate the detection rate and conservation impacts of wildlife crime, and describe the motivational factors and potential deterrents that influence poachers. The research is intended to provide solutions that will improve the prosecution and conviction rates of poaching, as well as develop a defensible framework for poaching penalties and inform a public outreach campaign to clearly articulate the difference between poaching and hunting.
“We thank Johnny Morris, his family, and Bass Pro and Cabela’s employees and customers for helping ensure a future for wildlife and wild places and preserving our outdoor heritage,” Schoonen concluded.
About the Boone and Crockett Club
Founded by Theodore Roosevelt in 1887, the Boone and Crockett Club promotes guardianship and visionary management of big game and associated wildlife in North America. The Club maintains the highest standards of fair chase sportsmanship and habitat stewardship. Member accomplishments include enlarging and protecting Yellowstone and establishing Glacier and Denali national parks, founding the U.S. Forest Service, National Park Service and National Wildlife Refuge System, fostering the Pittman-Robertson and Lacey Acts, creating the Federal Duck Stamp program, and developing the cornerstones of modern game laws. The Boone and Crockett Club is headquartered in Missoula, Montana. For details, visit boone-crockett.org.