Ensuring the future of elk, other wildlife, their habitat and our hunting heritage.

Tuesday, January 14, 2014

RMEF Volunteer Honored for Conservation Work, Issues Call to Action

Kati McCrae
Open Country Award Recipient
Kati McCrae is a doer. Just ask anyone that knows her. And now, because of her get ‘er done attitude, she is a recipient of the individual award at the inaugural Outdoor Life Open Country Awards. She accepted the honor before a packed room at the 2014 SHOT Show in Las Vegas.

McCrae joined the Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation in 2003. Since then, she served on numerous committees around her home state, including as Oregon mission team leader, inspiring many along the way. She also accelerated a localized conservation movement of sorts. Six years ago, McCrae was the catalyst behind the execution of one volunteer conservation project a year. In 2013, she organized 12 different projects. Referring to her ability to organize projects, a fellow volunteer said with McCrae calling the shots, “It will be done and it will be fun.”

McCrae continues to forge ahead while juggling the challenge of attending class at Oregon State University and despite dealing with some health issues. She was diagnosed with Lyme disease but said, “I still plan on making a difference and giving people the opportunities to create and maintain wildlife habitat for us and future generations. Something I have the utmost passion and respect for is public lands, wildlife, public access, hunting and conservation. Being with the RMEF has been an amazing opportunity.”

RMEF President/CEO David Allen
RMEF President/CEO David Allen thanked McCrae for her dedication to conservation. In doing so, he highlighted two RMEF projects that opened and/or secured access to more than 30,000 acres. One of them, the Red Hill project in central Montana, was a 40-acre purchase that secured access to 18,000 acres of Forest Service land for hunters, hikers and others to enjoy. The other, completed one day before the end of 2013, was a cooperative effort in the John Day Headwaters with an Oregon family business that opened access to 13,000 acres of land. It also secured public access to thousands of acres of existing public land. 

McCrae & Outdoor Life Editor
Andrew McKean
As a standout volunteer, McCrae knows the first-hand challenges of cracking the whip. She had to personally cancel six projects because of a lack of participation. McCrae pointed out that even though there are millions of outdoorsmen and women, only a small percentage are on the ground actively working to maintain and improve conservation. She issued a call to action to try to change that.

“Volunteers do make the difference so start the conversation,” said McCrae. “Talk to your neighbors. Talk to your friends. Talk to your family members and contact an agency near you that manages public lands and start creating projects. Get the word out to volunteers and give people the opportunity we need to get out and make a difference.”

Is that a get ‘er done attitude or what?

(The Michigan Department of Natural Resources received the State Agency Award and Tread Lightly received the Non-profit Award. The Open Country Awards are presented by Yamaha and the Rocky Mountain  Elk Foundation.)

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