MISSOULA, MT- Wild elk haven’t roamed the Illinois landscape for more than a century, but the species remains an inspiration for conservationists active in Illinois chapters of the Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation.
Since 1993, Illinoisans have raised over $2 million for elk habitat projects mainly in the West, while keeping another $75,000 for conservation and education initiatives at home.
With its 2008 grants for Illinois, the Elk Foundation is funding outdoor skills programs for youths, women and the physically challenged. A special project this year is funding a new wildlife viewing area built in memory of Michael Wolff, a conservationist, hunter and archer who succumbed to a rare form of cancer. The viewing area, which includes interpretive resources for students and other visitors, is located at Cache River State Wildlife Area.
“Illinois is home to thousands of conservationists devoted to ensuring the future of elk and elk habitat. While they’re at it, they’re also supporting worthy causes right in their own backyards,” said David Allen, president and CEO of the Elk Foundation.
A committee of local Elk Foundation volunteers and staff awards grants each year.
Illinoisan Bob Torstenson was introduced to the Elk Foundation through the local chapter in Rockford, Ill. Passionate about elk and driven to conserve the faraway places where elk live, Torstenson took his inspiration to a new level. In 2002, he posthumously gifted to the Elk Foundation a 95,000-acre New Mexico ranch and a $4 million endowment, an historic gift that ranks as the largest ever received by the Elk Foundation.
Elk Foundation fundraisers, banquets and other events, billed as “Great Times for a Great Cause,” are upcoming in Macomb, Moline, Sullivan and elsewhere in Illinois. To learn more, visit www.elkfoundation.org .
About the Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation
Founded in 1984 and headquartered in Missoula, Mont., the Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation is a nonprofit organization dedicated to ensuring the future of elk, other wildlife and their habitat. The Elk Foundation and its partners have permanently protected or enhanced over 5.2 million acres, a land area larger than Connecticut, Delaware and District of Columbia combined. More than 500,000 acres previously closed to public access are now open for hunting, fishing and other recreation. To help protect wild elk country or learn more about the Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation, visit www.elkfoundation.org or call 800-CALL-ELK.