MISSOULA, Mont. – —Expanding the range of Wisconsin’s Clam Lake elk herd, and preparing hunter education materials in anticipation of an inaugural elk hunting season, are among the conservation projects funded in Wisconsin this year by the Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation.

RMEF also is sponsoring numerous events and projects designed to engage youths in Wisconsin’s rich hunting heritage.

RMEF grants for 2012 total $65,402 and directly affect 24 counties: Ashland, Bayfield, Brown, Burnette, Columbia, Dane, Dunn, Eau Claire, Fond du Lac, Green Lake, Iowa, Jefferson, Kenosha, La Crosse, Lafayette, Marathon, Oneida, Portage, Price, Rusk, Sawyer, Walworth, Waukesha and Wood.

Additional projects have statewide interest.

““We’’re pleased to partner with the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources in the ‘assisted dispersal’ of elk in the Clam Lake area. Our grants this year will help build acclimation pens for elk being relocated within the region to areas of outstanding but unoccupied habitat,”” said David Allen, RMEF president and CEO. ““We’’re also excited about the proposed elk hunting season possibly as early as 2013.””

RMEF’’s mission is to ensure the future of elk, other wildlife, their habitat and our hunting heritage. Since 1985, the organization and its partners have completed 250 conservation and hunting heritage outreach projects in Wisconsin with a combined value of more than $6.1 million.

Funding for RMEF grants is based on local membership drives and banquet fundraising by RMEF chapters and volunteers in Wisconsin. Allen thanked RMEF supporters for their dedication to conservation both in Wisconsin and all across elk country.

RMEF grants will help fund the following 2012 projects in Wisconsin, listed by county:

Ashland County – —Engage Chequamegon High School students in elk herd monitoring project (also affects Price County); enhance elk habitat in the decommissioned Navy ELF corridor by mowing, thinning and prescribe burning (also affects Sawyer County); provide support for informational kiosk maintenance and operation at the Clam Lake Elk Visitor Center.

Brown County— – Provide sponsorship for Green Bay West High School National Archery in the Schools Program to introduce students to traditional outdoor recreation and conservation.

Burnette County— – Provide sponsorship for Coyland Creek 2012 Youth in the Outdoors Event to introduce young people to traditional outdoor recreation and conservation.

Columbia County— – Provide sponsorship for Kids and Mentors Outdoors Youth Hunt to introduce youths to traditional outdoor recreation and conservation.

Dane County— – Provide sponsorship for Blackhawk Bowhunters Archery Club 2012 Youth Program to introduce young people to traditional outdoor recreation and conservation.

Dunn County— – Provide sponsorship for Wisconsin Women on Target 2012 Program to introduce women to traditional outdoor recreation and conservation.

Eau Claire County – —Provide sponsorship for Augusta School District National Archery in the Schools Program to introduce students to traditional outdoor recreation and conservation.

Fond du Lac County – —Provide sponsorship for North Fond du Lac School District National Archery in the Schools Program to introduce students to traditional outdoor recreation and conservation.

Green Lake County – —Provide sponsorship for Berlin Conservation Club 2012 Youth Outdoor Skills Day to introduce young people to traditional outdoor recreation and conservation.

Iowa County— – Provide sponsorship for West Park 2012 Youth Fishing Day to engage young people in traditional outdoor recreation and conservation.

Kenosha County— – Provide sponsorship for Trevor-Wilmot Grade School National Archery in the Schools Program to introduce students to traditional outdoor recreation and conservation; sponsor Central Falcons Trap and Skeet team.

La Crosse County – —Provide sponsorship for the West Salem Rod and Gun Club 2012 Youth Day to introduce young people to traditional outdoor recreation and conservation.

Lafayette County – —Provide sponsorship for Lafayette County 2012 Kicking Bear One-on-One Archery Shoot and Campout to introduce young people to traditional outdoor recreation and conservation.

Marathon County— – Provide sponsorship for Mead Wildlife Area Learn to Hunt Waterfowl Program; sponsor Eau Pleine Outdoors Club Stratford 3D Archery Range to engage citizens in traditional outdoor recreation and conservation; sponsor Stratford Public School National Archery in the Schools Program; sponsor Marathon County 2012 Sporting Heritage Youth Day.

Oneida County – —Provide sponsorship for the Rhinelander Youth Outdoor Heritage Day to introduce young people to wildlife and conservation; sponsor Oneida County Hunter Education event.

Portage County— – Provide sponsorship for Antler Archers 2012 Youth Archery Program to introduce young people to traditional outdoor recreation and conservation.

Price County – —Provide sponsorship for the Phillips School District 2012-13 Outdoor Activity Group to introduce students to traditional outdoor recreation and conservation; sponsor Phillips Area 2012 Youth Field Day.

Sawyer County— – Construct three 4-acre acclimation pens for elk to be relocated in an “assisted dispersal” project in the Clam Lake area (also affects Price and Rusk counties); provide sponsorship for a University of Wisconsin-Stevens Point research project to monitor elk using radio telemetry and trail cameras (also affects Ashland, Bayfield and Price counties); sponsor Hayward RMEF 2012 Outdoor Youth Day to introduce young people to traditional outdoor recreation and conservation; in preparation for an anticipated elk hunting season in Wisconsin in 2013, develop an elk hunter education course to include various aspects of elk reintroduction, ecology and management, etc.

Statewide— – Provide sponsorship for Wisconsin 2012 Outdoor Education Expo to introduce youths to traditional outdoor recreation and conservation; sponsor Chequamegon National Forest elk calf inventory project.

Walworth County— – Provide sponsorship for Jefferson-Waukesha-Walworth County Scholastic Clay Trap Program to introduce youths to traditional outdoor recreation and conservation (also affects Waukesha and Jefferson counties).

Wood County – —Provide support for RMEF volunteers working to educate youths about elk and other wildlife at the Lindsay Youth Fair; sponsor Wood County Rifle and Pistol Club Hunter Education event.

Conservation projects are selected for grants using science-based criteria and a committee of RMEF volunteers and staff along with representatives from partnering agencies and universities. RMEF volunteers and staff select hunting heritage projects to be funded.

Partners for 2012 projects in Wisconsin include the U.S. Forest Service, Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources and other agencies and organizations.

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