This has been a busy year so far and I thank you again for your time and support. I really appreciate everyone picking out their banquet dates at the conclusion (or before) your 2020 banquet! This simple practice is very important to help us achieve our mission.

This year we had 17 banquets and public event representation at the Bass Pro Stores in Baltimore, the Early Bird Sports Expo at the Bloomsburg Fairgrounds and at the Foundation for North American Wild Sheep Eastern Convention in Lancaster. The NRA Great American Outdoor Show in Harrisburg was a great success with over 300 memberships sold. There, we had the Great Elk Tour and a 10×20 Membership Booth for the 9-day show. Thanks to our volunteers we were fully staffed with two four-person shifts daily.

We held our PA Project Advisory Committee (PAC) Meeting and continue to fund habitat work on PA elk range to improve the quality of elk habitat. We have also funded several PA state grant projects this year. Maryland and Delaware are now taking applications for State Grants. We will hold our 2020 PA Project Advisory Committee (PAC) Meeting just after the first of the year and will send out State Grant Project Proposals for PA in November. I really appreciate your professional approach to managing your volunteer work very much and it is fun working with you.

On June 6th we will meet for a public land dedication for our Contrary Run surface mine reclamation project on SGL 100. We will meet at the Showshoe exit on I 80 at 12:45 and leave at 1:00 pm to the nearby site. After visiting the project with our Partners, we will offer a tour of the adjacent reclamation projects to see the overall picture of the habitat improvements on SGL 100. The project looks great and I’ve attached a drone photo from the site from May 6th and another snapshot (titled SGL 100 restoration projects) that shows the SM-8 side in the foreground and the adjoining BAMR project.

Also on June 6th at 5pm we will have a land dedication for the Woodring Farm II property (2507 Winslow Hill Rd., Benezette Twp., PA) right off of Winslow Hill. This 37-acre parcel improves access to neighboring public lands as it adjoins 3,792 acres of State Game Land 311. Below is an attached rendition of that project sign.

Calf Capture: On June 7th we will have a Habitat Partner function where we meet at Woodring Farm in Benezette Twp. This year we will have two groups of Calf Catchers, with Jeremy Banfield and PGC staff leading the groups. We have about 40 folks in each group and this is a limited opportunity. We will have an evening meal prior to the event and conclude with a Luncheon after the Calf Capture. The purpose of this activity is to raise funds through the Habitat Partner program. I learned that having folks see an elk calf up close was more impressive to them than seeing a large bull bugle in the fall.

Our Volunteer Rendezvous is again scheduled for the weekend after Labor Day in Benezette Twp. Last year we had over 12 chapters represented from our region and saw many elk – especially at the Elk Country VC and along Winslow Hill Road. We also saw many habitat improvement projects funded by RMEF on State Forest and State Game Lands. Invitations go out in July.

Calf Capture: On June 7th we will have a Habitat Partner function where we meet at Woodring Farm in Benezette Twp. This year we will have two groups of Calf Catchers, with Jeremy Banfield and PGC staff leading the groups. We have about 40 folks in each group and this is a limited opportunity. We will have an evening meal prior to the event and conclude with a Luncheon
after the Calf Capture. The purpose of this activity is to raise funds through the Habitat Partner program. I learned that having folks see an elk calf up close was more impressive to them than seeing a large bull bugle in the fall.

Our Volunteer Rendezvous is again scheduled for the weekend after Labor Day in Benezette Twp. Last year we had over 12 chapters represented from our region and saw many elk – especially at the Elk Country VC and along Winslow Hill Road. We also saw many habitat improvement projects funded by RMEF on State Forest and State Game Lands. Invitations go out in July. Step Up Event in PA October 10-11. This is a national program and only a few are available annually. This year PA will host one of these events and please contact me for a registration form. The Cobblestone Inn will serve
as the host hotel. The event includes PA Project Tours and a private dinner. An RMEF presentation on Thursday evening at Red Fern will highlight the future needs for your continued support of elk, other wildlife, their habitat and our hunting heritage.

An early morning elk viewing outing is available for Friday before we visit two of RMEF’s corporate partners–Zippo Lighter and Case Knife. Both companies are opening their factory doors in Bradford, Pennsylvania, for exclusive tours of their operations. Both partners will share their manufacturing processes from start to finish.

These exclusive tours are not open to the public. This memorable experience will include a stop at the Zippo/Case Museum and factory store. Our time together will conclude with a private dinner and an opportunity to share with each other the legacy you plan to leave for elk and elk country.

Chapter Business
2-Gun Raffle: Available by the end of May and it is managed in the usual format for well over 15 years now. Guns are at no cost with funds turned in by a set mid-December date. I really appreciate Reading, West Chester, Lancaster and the Maryland Chapter for their participation last time!

National Bank Sweep Accounts: I am asking all of you that have a local bank account to close it and move to a national sweep account. 80% of RMEF chapters have this and there are advantages. No bank statements need to be mailed, no final checks to write RMEF afterwards to a $200 balance, no bank fees, and funds are always available so no wire transfers or corporate credit card needs for merchandise purchases or facility deposits. Wells Fargo does not need SSN’s for anyone on the accounts. Bank of America also participates with us.

Banquet Surveys: Nationally we send electronic surveys to attendees to seek input and feedback. I will email these to all the chapter chairs but anyone can request them from me and there are national common themes.

Mailings: We seem to be getting the hang of the EIS System and some chapters have provided incentives to register and pay online which saves us time. I encourage everyone to print a mailing overrun for face to face sales. I am seeing a real need for us to maintain our attendee list locally.

Merchandise: I’d like to see chapters continue to stay on budget but allocate more overall budgeted funds to local purchases for women. I’ve seen many silent auctions with 30-40 items, taking up six eight-foot tables to make under $800 profit. Overall SA items that are donated seem to make the best use of that area vs. purchased items from the RMEF Merchandise Catalog. Many items on the SA’s can go to the GR to keep the quality of that raffle high enough so that people continue to purchase at least $100 in pre-raffle sales. Ten to 12 items on the Live Auction are plenty, additional items seem to prolong events, especially when some items can make just as much on the SA and keep things rolling along. Remember . . . the reason why most people volunteer, attend banquets, donate merchandise or join as Habitat Partners is because they were personally asked.

Thank you again for all you do for the RMEF!
Dave

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