Teaming With Wildlife Fly-In Supports Funding

By Julia King

Pika Image Credit: NPS

As a active member of the Teaming With Wildlife Coalition steering committee, The Wildlife Society encourages TWS members to attend the Teaming With Wildlife Fly-In on February 24-25, 2015.

Teaming With Wildlife (TWW) is a diverse coalition of over 6,400 non-profit groups, agencies, and businesses that supports funding for wildlife conservation funding programs. The annual event brings people to Capitol Hill in a focused effort to build support for wildlife funding in the federal appropriations process. The Fly-In includes advocacy training, meetings with congressional staff, and a reception.

The Fly-In is organized each year to show national support for the State and Tribal Wildlife Grants Program (SWG) and other state wildlife funding programs.  TWS members who have participated in the past have found the experience eye-opening and rewarding.

“We were able to show…how the small amount of money [requested for State Wildlife Grants] does a lot to help fund state efforts in the conservation of our wildlife species,” says Brian Jennings, Past-President of the Maryland-Delaware Chapter of TWS and participant in the 2014 TWW Fly-in.

Read more about TWS members’ experiences at the annual Fly-in in the 2014 Summer Issue of The Wildlife Professional.

The Teaming With Wildlife coalition successfully encouraged Congress to create the SWG in 2000 to assist states and their partners with the conservation of non-game wildlife. SWG is the only federal program that directly supports states in preventing wildlife from becoming endangered. It is also the primary program supporting implementation of State Wildlife Action Plans (SWAPs), which detail on the ground conservation actions in each state working to keep common species common.

Appropriations for SWG have decreased in recent years from a high of $90 million in FY 2010 to a low of $58 million in FY 2014. Previous budget reductions and sequestrations have had a serious and disproportionate impact on SWG.

“Reduced funding for SWG is a serious concern for wildlife professionals because it restricts state wildlife agencies’ abilities to properly manage and conserve at-risk species,” said Keith Norris, TWS Assistant Director of Government Affairs. “Building Congressional support for SWG is essential to ensure its continued effectiveness.”

Join TWS members and staff, and members of numerous other organizations at the Teaming With Wildlife Fly-in this February to show your support for SWG and wildlife funding. Register at the TWW website by February 20, 2015 to participate.