More than 3,000 Pennsylvania youths are being introduced to traditional sporting activities and conservation through events and programs sponsored this year by the Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation.

RMEF has announced $19,813 in grants for sponsorships across Pennsylvania in 2012.

Benefits are extending directly to youths in 27 counties: Armstrong, Bedford, Berks, Blair, Bucks, Butler, Cameron, Chester, Crawford, Dauphin, Delaware, Elk, Fayette, Greene, Lancaster, Lebanon, Lehigh, Lycoming, Mercer, Montgomery, Northampton, Philadelphia, Schuylkill, Sullivan, Tioga, Washington and Westmoreland.

Additional RMEF-sponsored events have statewide and national interest.

“RMEF is always eager to help young people develop a deeper appreciation for their hunting heritage and its importance to conservation,” said David Allen, RMEF president and CEO. “Ultimately, we hope that deeper appreciation translates to participation!”

RMEF’s mission is to ensure the future of elk, other wildlife and their habitat. Since 1985, the organization and its partners have completed 277 conservation and hunting heritage outreach projects in Pennsylvania with a combined value topping $20.7 million.

RMEF grants for on-the-ground conservation projects will be announced later this year.

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

RMEF grants will help fund the following events and initiatives, listed by county:

Armstrong County—Armstrong County Sportsmen and Conservation League 2012 Youth Field Day to introduce students to boat safety, dog training and firearms.

Bedford County—Everett Area High School Rifle Team now in its first year of competition; Everett Sportsmen Junior Rifle Club 2012 to promote safe enjoyment of shooting sports.

Berks County—Pennsylvania Elk Education Forensic Mini Trunks, an elementary and middle school teaching tool with activities to help students understand how conservation officers benefit wildlife through detective and law enforcement work. Trunks will be distributed by the Pennsylvania Game Commission in Berks, Bucks, Chester, Dauphin, Delaware, Lancaster, Lebanon, Lehigh, Montgomery, Northampton, Philadelphia and Schuylkill counties).

Blair County—Keystone Sportsmen for Youth 2012 Field Day to instill conservation and outdoor recreation in students and their families.

Butler County—Independent Mountain Men of Western Pennsylvania 2012 Boy Scout Camporee to demonstrate black-powder rifle shooting and other primitive outdoor skills.

Cameron County—Cameron County School District National Archery in the Schools Program to youths to improve skills with bows and arrows.

Crawford County—Springs Rod & Gun Club 4-H Marksmanship Program to engage youths in shooting sports.

Dauphin County—Capital Area Sportsmen for Youth 2012 Field Day including demonstrations on dog training, shooting, camping and more.

Elk County—Elk County Sportsmen for Youth 2012 Field Day to teach students about shooting, trapping, wildlife calling and more.

Fayette County—Fayette Gun Club 2012 Invite a Friend to Shoot Day to encourage participation and mentorship in shooting sports.

Greene County—Green County Scholastic Clay Target Program to engage youths in competitive shooting.

Lycoming County—Consolidated Sportsmen of Muncy Creek 2012 Youth Fishing Derby to engage students in fishing and conservation (also affects Sullivan County).

Mercer County—Mercer County 2012 Youth Conservation Camp, a one-week camp focused on game, fish and habitat management.

Nationwide—Camp Compass Academy which is introducing and mentoring students in hunting and other outdoor activities.

Philadelphia—Pennsylvania Master Naturalist 2012 Program to build a knowledgeable base of volunteer instructors in conservation.

Statewide—Pennsylvania Scholastic Clay Target Program 2012 Zone Shoots to provide a competition platform for young skeet, trap and sporting clays shooters, Pennsylvania Institute for Conservation Education 2012 Teacher Workshops to help instructors deliver lessons in wildlife and habitat; Wildlife Leadership Academy 2012 for high-school students focused on conservation.

Sullivan County—Sullivan County High School 2012 Shooting Sports which hopes to provide equipment and supplies needed to train for international skeet and trap; North Mountain Sportsmen’s Association 2012 Youth Field Day and instruction on shooting sports, elk and elk habitat, Native American lifestyles and more.

Tioga County—Tioga County Sportsmen for Youth 2012 Field Day for students and parents to try shooting sports, wildlife identification, orienteering and more.

Washington County—California Hill Gun Club 2012 Scholastic Clay Target Program to engage youths in competitive shooting; Roscoe Sportsmen’s Association 2012 Youth Day to teach shotgun, pistol, rifle and archery shooting; Roscoe Sportsmen’s Association 2012 Junior Trap League; Allenport Rod and Gun Club Children’s 2012 Fishing Contest.

Westmoreland County—Kingston Veterans and Sportsmen Club 2012 Youth Field Day/Pheasant Hunt to provide young hunters with instruction in hunting, sportsmanship, firearm safety and conservation.

RMEF staff and volunteers select conservation education and hunting heritage projects to receive grants.

Partners for 2012 projects in Pennsylvania include the Pennsylvania Game Commission, schools, clubs and other organizations.

Logo courtesy of the Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation

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