From the Annual Meeting straight to Congress

The following is correspondence NWF delegates received shortly after returning from the NWF Annual Meeting held June 16-18 at the YMCA of the Rockies at Estes Park, Colorado. It summarizes what was accomplished at the meeting.


It was great seeing so many of you at the National Wildlife Federation Annual Meeting in Colorado last week – what an amazing meeting, from the caucuses to the breakout sessions to the incredible presentations to the major decisions you made to strengthen our Federation and align us together – a new vision statement, bylaws changes, resolutions, election of the Federation Board of Directors’ Chair-Elect, and more. I’ve never been to an Annual Meeting where the affiliates worked harder, got more done and had more impact. As Alabama Wildlife Federation’s Rebecca Pritchett told us, “Our Federation is back!”


For those of you who couldn’t make it, I’ll do a quick recap below – but first I wanted to share a remarkable development.


The affiliates on Saturday passed a resolution calling for Congress to enact a wildlife funding bill of at least $1.3 billion annually. Tomorrow – Thursday, five days later (drum roll, please) — Representatives Debbie Dingell (D-MI) and Don Young (R-AK) will introduce a wildlife funding bill for $1.3 billion annually.




All that didn’t happen overnight, of course, and many affiliates have been working with the national staff for the last few months to line this up. But still – wow. Talk about resolutions that matter. And that was just one of twelve.


The others are equally impressive and we expect them to be similarly impactful. The affiliates passed a resolution calling for expanding Papahanaumokuakea Marine National Monument in Hawai’i to become the largest national marine monument ever – and thanks to the work of the Conservation Council of Hawai’i, we expect President Obama to take action on that soon. Last Thursday, affiliates held a news conference at the start of the Annual Meeting calling for state and federal lawmakers to keep public lands in public hands; two days later the affiliates passed a resolution condemning the Malheur occupation and calling for support of law enforcement. Ten affiliates and the national organization debuted their new public lands short film entitled “This Land is Your Land” (soon to be a box office sensation!). We continue to battle attempts at public lands seizures in state legislatures and in Congress and we continue to win.  In 2016 alone, we’ve beaten back 13 bills and demonstrated unwavering opposition to transfer bills in Congress.

Those are just a few of the breaking issues our Federation addressed through our resolutions at the Annual Meeting. We have a news release link below that describes all the resolutions as well as the other major events at the AM. (The links to the resolutions in the news release aren’t live yet; in another day or so they will be and you can click them then to get to the full text of the final resolutions).


Here are a few more highlights of the Annual Meeting:


The affiliates’ unanimous adoption of a new We Envision statement that calls on our Federation to reverse the species decline in the U.S., mobilize a conservation army of 75 million people, and build a nationwide public that supports a conservation ethic. Through the general session and an overflow breakout session, the affiliates made numerous changes to improve the initial draft;


The affiliates’ approval of amendments to the Federation’s bylaws, including insertion of last year’s We Believe statement into the Bylaws as a preamble, and a new mission statement: “Uniting all Americans to ensure wildlife thrives in a rapidly changing world.” The complete bylaws amendment can be found on the Annual Meeting website; the proposed bylaws on the website were adopted without changes.


The affiliates’ election of NWF’s Board of Directors and the Board’s Chair-Elect, Kathy Hadley of the Montana Wildlife Federation. Kathy and the other remaining candidate, Board member Nicole Wood, engaged in a spirited, positive and constructive campaign; we are lucky they have chosen our Federation in which to invest their inspiring talents, expertise and passion.


Exceptional, moving, and informative presentations from Brenda Richardson on the Washington, D.C. affiliate Earth Conservation Corps’ work to save both at-risk young adults and the Anacostia River (as featured on a “60-Minutes” TV episode); Jason Baldes on the return of sacred bison to Eastern Shashone and other tribal lands; and Vanessa Braided Hair, co-founder of Eco-Cheyenne. You’ll be able to see these presentations in their entirety on the NWF website soon.


Awards to deserving individuals and organizations, including the staff of the Malheur National Wildlife Refuge for building bridges to the local community that withstood the armed occupation of the Refuge, and our Affiliate of the Year, the Oregon’s Association of Northwest Steelheaders.

Conservation priority caucuses that affiliates used to map out campaigns and joint actions on water, public lands, captive cervids, climate and energy, youth engagement, conservation funding and sportsmen’s issues;


Breakout sessions that covered topics ranging from diversity/equity/inclusion to fundraising to advocacy campaigns; and


A whirlwind speech by Collin, delivered at warp speed without notes, that described the affiliate’s and NWF’s work in each one of the 52 states and territories, the state of national policy, and our Federation’s vision, and brought all of us to our feet – in just 45 minutes. That too will be available online, and I’d recommend sticking close to the “pause” button to make sure you can take it all in.


There’s so much more – the beautiful setting, a wild elk calf kicking a soccer ball, Doug Inkley on a zipline — but this email is long enough. Thank you for your hard work, passion, and commitment to our Federation. You give us hope for wildlife.


Here’s the news release that includes a summary of all the resolutions:


Andy Buchsbaum

NWF VP of Conservation Action