Who is the Ohio Wildlife Federation?
The Ohio Wildlife Federation's roots
In 1908 a group of conservationists gathered to form the League of Ohio Sportsmen - Ohio's first statewide coalition of concerned citizens. Their primary goals were to ensure that Ohio's wildlife would have better habitat, to work for cleaner water, and to work to clean the air. To accomplish these goals, League members visited communities and gave talks to encourage more Ohioans to join their cause. Over the next 30+ years the League's efforts bore positive fruits and major gains were made toward their initial goals.
In 1945 the League set a new goal: to educate Ohio's youth about the art and sport of fishing. The League's first youth fishing camp was a success and the campfire became an annual event. For many years, the League fishing program was held as a part of the Brotherhood of the Junglecock program based in Maryland. The program honed water/boat safety and the skills needed to fish with multiple methods, but was highly focused on flyfishing. The five year program was open initially to boys aged 10-17. It was later opened to girls and the age limit was lowered to 8.
In the 1950's, the League was the first Ohio organization to offer and promote the National Rifle Association's new Hunter Safety program. League leaders knew the positive impact of a hands-on learning environment from their youth fishing programs. In 1964 the League held it's first "advanced hunter safety" program, the Coonskin Cap Brigade. The brigade, based in large part on the popularity of the Davey Crockett television program, included hands-on safe shooting training, wildlife tracking, trapping instruction, and safe hunting simulations. Fess Parker, who played Crockett, was a guest at early campfires and many instructors dressed in buckskins. The brigade is a four-year program for youth aged 10-17.
The Ohio Wildlife Federation is born
In 1977-78, the League of Ohio Sportsmen was involved in the highly politically charged statewide campaign against trapping. The League's Board of Directors realized that the very successful youth programs could be endangered by fallout from the campaign. They moved to form a new, non-profit, organization to maintain and expand the youth education programs. The Ohio Wildlife Federation (OWF), a 501(c)3 charitable eduction organization was formed.
The Ohio Wildlife Federation today
OWF has continued to provide opportunities for youth to learn about fishing and hunting through annual youth camps (Junior Anglers of Ohio and the Coonskin Cap Brigade). We have also added the NRA's Youth Hunter Education Challenge to our camp offerings. YHEC is an advanced hunter education competition whoose Ohio winners move on to national and international contests.
In addition to our youth camps, OWF provides scholarships on an annual basis to students in Natural Resources disciplines at the Ohio State University and Wright State University.
OWF has been involved in national education initiatives through the League. These education initiatives have also provided grant opportunities including OWF's past participation in the AmeriCorps program.
Future OWF projects include "green energy" education, additional leadership training and a continued focus on getting youth outside and back into nature.
The Ohio Wildlife Federation's Leadership
The Ohio Wildlife Federation is led by a diverse group of individuals who are leaders in local sporting organizations. OWF's Trustees mirror the League's Directors by design. OWF programs offer volunteer opportunities for Ohioans throughout the state.
Volunteer opportunities and youth camp opportunities are announced on this website. You can also email or call our office for more information on opportunities.
Please consider making a fully tax deductible donation to OWF. Your support ensures that we can continue to offer quality youth education programs for future generations of Ohio youth. You can donate immediately by clicking the "Donate" button at the bottom of this page.
Leave a Legacy
You can "Leave a Legacy" and help us to continue to educate Ohio's youth by remembering the Ohio Wildlife Federation in your will. OWF also has opportunities for businesses and major donors for current and planned projects. Please email or call our office at (614) 224-8970 for more details.
Last Updated (Saturday, March 06, 2010)