The Conservation Leaders for Tomorrow program was established in 2004 through a partnership of the Wildlife Management Institute and the Max McGraw Wildlife Foundation. The pilot programs generated immediate praise from participants, instructors, and participating universities. In 2009, CLfT set out to fine-tune the curriculum, broaden opportunities, and create a standardized conservation education platform that could be extended to other locations across the U.S.
“Historically those entering the wildlife profession were hunters. Today many entering the profession are non-hunters.” Says Mike Schlegel, Conservation Chairman for the Pope & Young. “This, in itself, is fine; however non-hunters, especially those working for state wildlife management agencies, must be able to relate and communicate with the hunting community. The CLfT program was conceived and designed to bridge that gap.”
The CLfT program isn’t designed to be a hunting program; it is a conservation education program that explores the roles of hunters and consumptive uses of wildlife in relation to wildlife conservation and society. CLfT’s educational goal is to “identify future and current leaders of the natural resource profession who do not hunt and provide them with an understanding of the diverse values and important roles of hunting and its impact on conservation.” It’s highly interactive curriculum is derived from the leading science and theory of natural resources administration and wildlife management. Currently CLfT is active with 45 universities, 30 state agencies, the Bureau of Land Management, and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service—and is still growing.
Only time will reveal the exact impact of this program, but in the meantime the participants and their colleagues provide insight into how the program is doing. All CLfT participants complete a detailed, anonymous exit survey at the end of the workshop. Ninety-five percent report a deeper understanding of why regulated and ethical hunting is an essential component of wildlife conservation, and of the importance of hunting (and other consumptive uses of wildlife) in the culture and economic fabric of our society. To learn more about the history, impact, and future of CLfT please visit www.clft.org.
Established in 1961, the Pope and Young Club is a non-profit North American conservation and bowhunting organization dedicated to the promotion and protection of our bowhunting heritage, hunting ethics and wildlife conservation. The Club also maintains the universally recognized repository for the records and statistics on North American big game animals harvested with a bow and arrow. For more please go to: Pope & Young Club: or call: 507.867.4144