A gal asked me while on a hike, “what does SCI on your shirt stand for?” Well, two weeks ago, I reported to you on the National Archery in the Schools Program coming to the Middle and High Schools of Norwich. Twenty-five percent of the private donations to fund the program came from the Adirondack-Catskill Chapter of Safari Club International. So, I thought I'd devote this week’s column to ACSCI and let my readers know what they are all about..certainly more than you ever imagined.
Safari Club International (SCI) started in 1972 when a group from Los Angeles met with hunters from Chicago and formed the International. Mostly then it was just big-game hunters getting together to share stories and exchange experiences. As hunters are the oldest conservationists, this aspect was brought into the group and they expanded into other areas involving the sport. Today, SCI has over 55,000 members in 190 chapters worldwide, involved with educational, humanitarian and conservation issues around the globe.
Anyhow, back about 10 years ago, I attended an ACSCI banquet/fundraiser at the old Cathedral Farms in Oneonta. It was a nice time, but there were some issues. I let my feelings be known to Larry Steiner, president of the chapter. He sent me an email back and said, “why not join and help make things better.”
Over the years I have been witness to, or involved first hand with many of the ACSCI projects. While the International's main missions are 1, preserving the rights of hunters and 2, promoting wildlife conservation worldwide, our local chapter, plays a very important role locally, regionally and state\wide, as well as globally. There have been many projects they have been involved in over the years.
Conservation projects completed locally:
*Provided materials and backhoe service to build a footbridge on the FLT in Bowman Lake State Park
* Five hundred bluebird houses were donated to schools in Poland, Oneonta, New Hartford, Sherburne and Rogers Environmental Center.
* Providing farmers with seed corn for four years at a cost of $5/bag. Corn provides food for wildlife. Today seed corn is usually $150-$300/bag.
* Built a boardwalk along the Utica Marsh.
* Donated two robotic deer to the NYS DEC to thwart poaching.
Nearby education projects that ASCSI has funded:
*Sponsoring Hunter Safety Education and Trapper Safety Education classes.
*Sponsored 16 teachers to date to American Wilderness Leadership School (AWLS) in Jackson, Wyo.
*Sponsor one or two students every year to attend AWLS in Jackson, Wyo.
*Funded the first National Archery in the Schools Program, Franklin Schools, Delaware County.