The natural gas industry, along with Energy for Wildlife, sponsored a fundraising event for the National Wild Turkey Federation to continue to preserve and enhance wildlife habitats.
While some view the natural gas industry in northeastern Pennsylvania as a threat to the local environment, other people and organizations take a different approach and embrace the industry, viewing it as an opportunity to enhance the environment and the local habitat and wildlife. Despite the ups and downs of the gas industry, Pennsylvania’s natural resources will always be a huge part of the state. Perhaps Anadarko spokesman Mark Barbier said it best during Oct. 22’s Energy for Wildlife fundraising event:
“Even though our industry is in a lull right now, we need conservation efforts to continue,” he said. “Our industry may change but the wildlife will always be here, and wildlife contributions will go a long way in maintaining the positive relationship with the industry and the environment.”
The fundraising event held that day near Montoursville was the latest event to continue that partnership, as several area gas and service companies raised monies for the National Wild Turkey Federation (NWTF). The event featured raffles, live music, a silent auction and a dinner.
The NWTF is a conservation organization that dates back to 1973, and, according to its website, aids in “not only enhancing wild turkey populations but also in the continuation of hunting and quality wildlife habitat for countless species.”
A large part of that effort, according to NWTF Regional Director Ray Smith, is partnering with local industries.
“It’s apparent that natural gas is here to stay,” he said. “We realized that it’s important to work with them and look at each other as keepers of the environment and work together to protect the environment.”
Smith noted that the latest fundraising event, which celebrated its fourth year, raised approximately $25,000 and, even though the NWTF is a national organization, the funds raised would stay local and largely support the local efforts of the Save the Habitat, Save the Hunt initiative, which seeks to conserve or enhance four million acres of habitat, create 1.5 million hunters and open 500,000 acres for hunting.
“Pennsylvania hosts lots of different types of energy and they’ve all played a part in these conservation efforts,” Smith said. “But the biggest impact for us is in the pipelines, and we want to take advantage of these opportunities because they are important to the wildlife.”
NWTF Regional Biologist Mitch Blake echoed Smith’s words and added how the NWTF and the gas industry work together in the field.
“Natural gas activities present an opportunity to enhance the habitat of wildlife, especially in the reclamation stage,” he said. “We provide some of the technical advice to the companies and help them make the most of the environmental opportunity.”
“We work with them across various environmental projects,” Smith added. “It’s important to the wildlife that we work with the companies for advice and help.”
In addition to Anadarko, who was the anchor sponsor for the event, other sponsors included Chief Oil & Gas, Inflection Energy, Glenn O. Hawbaker Inc., LG Dickey Contracting, The Ultra Group, Clean Earth, McJunkin Redman Corporation, Energy Transfer and Allstate.
“We’ve had great relationships with the companies, and they’ve worked hard to show that the local environment is a big deal to them; that they’re not bad people,” Smith said. “These projects and partnerships have benefited Pennsylvania in a big way. The money raised goes beyond just these events; we can stretch their investment over multiple projects so every bit goes a long way. We welcome even more energy companies for the future because these partnerships are important for our wildlife and environment.”