National Wildlife Federation is a voice for wildlife, dedicated to protecting wildlife and habitat and inspiring the future generation of conservationists.
As America's largest non-profit conservation organization, the National Wildlife Federation works closely with those who span the social and political spectrum, but who are connected by a common commitment to conservation. Their ability to meet the needs of wildlife is inextricably linked to the over 6 million amazing individuals, groups, organizations and corporations they call their supporters.
Their mission is to unite all Americans to ensure wildlife thrive in a rapidly changing world. Through conservation efforts, grassroots actions, education programs, and award-winning publications (including National Wildlife, Ranger Rick, and Ranger Rick Jr.) they connect with people across the nation to safeguard America’s wildlife and wild places.
In the early 1900s, there was no nationwide constituency to support conservation. Many people cared about wildlife conservation, but nobody was organized in any fashion to advocate or influence policy decisions. In the words of NWF founder Ding Darling, "Wildlife doesn't vote and neither do conservationists…"
Darling dreamed of a federation promoting conservation interests, encouraging social diversity, and demanding action from Congress. His dream became reality in 1936 when he convinced President Franklin Roosevelt to convene more than 2,000 hunters, anglers and conservationists from across the country to the first North American Wildlife Conference in Washington, DC.
There, the General Wildlife Federation (later changed to the National Wildlife Federation) was formed with the idea of uniting sportsmen and all outdoor and wildlife enthusiasts behind the common goal of conservation.
This first conference was such a success that energized and motivated participants returned home to organize federations in each of their states. These affiliates became the backbone of National Wildlife Federation, and today, they return each year to NWF's Annual Meeting, providing governance for the organization, as well as the vision and grassroots needed to achieve their joint conservation goals.
What started as a cartoonist’s dream has turned into the largest grassroots conservation organization in the country. Today the National Wildlife Federation (NWF) boasts over 4 million supporters and 49 state affiliates. NWF continues to be the voice of conservation for diverse constituencies that include hunters, anglers, gardeners, bird watchers, scientists, outdoor enthusiasts, and families raising the next generation of habitat stewards.
From climate change to mining reform, from wilderness to energy development, from backyard habitats to connecting people to nature, NWF has the professional expertise and grassroots power to make a difference for wildlife and their children’s future. All of this didn’t happen by chance, however, and understanding their past will propel them into the future.
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