Habitat & Conservation  |  07/27/2018

Policy Action: Youth Leaders Advocate for Habitat in D.C.

Above: Aidan McMaster of the Pheasants Forever National Youth Council meets with Representative John Moollenaar of Michigan about the importance of Recovering America's Wildlife Act (RAWA) legislation.

Pheasants Forever Youth Council Makes the Case for Conservation

By Bethany Erb, Pheasants Forever Government Affairs Representative

This summer Pheasants Forever’s National Youth Leadership Council (NYLC) accompanied by Elsa Gallagher, PF Conservation Leadership Program Manager, joined the government affairs team in Washington, D.C. to advocate for conservation priorities. The Farm Bill and the Recovering America’s Wildlife Act (RAWA) were the focus.
It was an exciting time on Capitol Hill for NYLC members MacKenzie Schmitz (Iowa), Hunter Swanson (Nebraska) and Aidan McMaster (Michigan). While in D.C., the group met with their own states’ Senators and Representatives as well as staff for Senate Minority leader Chuck Schumer. The trio also participated in a RAWA Capitol Hill briefing. 
Specifically, the NYLC made an appeal for legislators to support the Recovering America’s Wildlife Act  (RAWA-HR 4647) which would create a  funding source for state fish and wildlife agencies to protect and enhance species that are potential candidates for the threatened or endangered lists.

As the NYLC told legislators: Habitat is key, and when we create habitat for one species, it benefits many others in the ecosystem. Shortly after their visit, The Senate released their version S. 3223. It is our hope that this legislation will provide long term mandatory funding for wildlife across the country.  
Species like the iconic sage grouse and beloved monarch butterfly were given as prime examples of species Pheasants Forever and Quail Forever are helping that would also benefit from RAWA funding, along with the message that voluntary, incentive- based conservation programs are one of the best ways to improve conditions for species like these that are in trouble.

Left to right: Hunter Swanson, Aidan McMaster and MacKenzie Schmitz represented Pheasants Forever's National Youth Leadership Council in Washington D.C. The trio asked legislators to support conservation provisions in the Farm Bill, as well as the Recovering America's Wildlife Act.