HARRISBURG, Pa., June 24 -- Women are Pennsylvania's fastest growing group of hunters and a beneficial new partnership between the Pennsylvania Game Commission and the National Wild Turkey Federation (NWTF) will help provide more outdoor opportunities to women in the Keystone State.
Thanks in large part to funding provided by the Game Commission, the NWTF has hired Jeff Souders, of Harrisburg, to serve as a full-time, Women in the Outdoors coordinator in Pennsylvania. Currently, Pennsylvania is the only state with its own Women in the Outdoors coordinator.
In his new position, Souders will create new Women in the Outdoors events, re-energize existing NWTF chapters and events and reach out to women who have never participated in the program.
"The Game Commission recognizes that there is a high interest level in the outdoors among women in the state and we want to provide more opportunities for them to enjoy an outdoor lifestyle," said Carl G. Roe, Game Commission executive director. "Providing women in our state with a full-time Women in the Outdoors coordinator is satisfying a tremendous need. This is a great opportunity to recruit new outdoorswomen and, as a joint venture between the Game Commission and NWTF, everyone benefits."
Roe noted that the hiring of Souders compliments the Game Commission's recent hiring of Julie Imes, of Elliottsburg, Perry County, who serves as the Recruitment and Retention Coordinator.
"In this capacity, Julie will serve as the coordinator for the National Archery in the Schools program, which is a gateway to encourage those youth who enjoy the challenge of target archery shooting to consider the transition into 3-D target archery shooting and then to hunting," Roe said. "With the wide array of youth and junior hunting and trapping opportunities offered by the Game Commission, Julie also recently developed an overall manual for sportsmen's clubs, outdoors organizations and individual hunters to host or serve as mentors for young people interested in getting involved in hunting and trapping."
The NWTF formed the Women in the Outdoors outreach program to provide opportunities for women to enjoy the outdoors in a stress-free environment. Knowledgeable and friendly instructors help participants learn new activities quickly and gain confidence in their abilities.
Souders noted that, in 2009, NWTF chapters hosted 240 Women in the Outdoors events across North America, in which women participated in various outdoor activities such as archery, canoeing, self-defense training, camping and shooting.
"The NWTF is the leading conservation organization in North America and I'm excited to help fulfill our mission," said Souders. "Women in the Outdoors has been extremely successful in Pennsylvania and I look forward to helping women across the state enjoy outdoor activities."
Through dynamic partnerships with state, federal and provincial wildlife agencies, the NWTF and its members have helped restore wild turkey populations across the country, spending more than $306 million to conserve 14 million acres of habitat for all types of wildlife.
The NWTF works to increase interest in the outdoors by bringing new hunters and conservationists into the fold through outdoor education events and its outreach programs – Women in the Outdoors, Wheelin' Sportsmen, JAKES and Xtreme JAKES.
For more information about the NWTF and its outreach programs, visit www.nwtf.org or call (800) THE-NWTF.
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SOURCE Pennsylvania Game Commission