by Brian McCombie - Tuesday, August 9, 2022
Above: Nimrod Education Center (NEC) Director Al Stewart addresses Hillsdale College students regarding the importance of the NEC program.
AT HILLSDALE COLLEGE, in Hillsdale, Mich., the newly formed Nimrod Center for Education in Areas of Consumptive Sport and Recreational Hunting and Fishing—also known simply as the Nimrod Education Center—is on a mission: to educate its students and the American public about the importance of wildlife conservation and stewardship, and the key role played by hunters, anglers and recreational shooters.
Hillsdale College is a small Christian, classical liberal arts college located in southern Michigan. It operates independently of government funding and is home to students from all 50 states and a dozen foreign nations.
“Scientific education has been among the purposes of Hillsdale College since its founding in 1844,” said Nimrod Education Center Director Al Stewart. “Through the Nimrod Education Center, we will continue to promote the natural sciences not only at the college but throughout the country. The center will educate the public about the contributions and leadership that hunters, anglers and target shooters make to wildlife management and conservation.”
The NEC was established and endowed on May 6, 2020, through a generous gift from Alan Taylor, president of the Nimrod Society. The Nimrod Society is a 501(c)3 non-profit foundation aimed at encouraging state and federal wildlife management and conservation agencies to adopt self-sustaining revenue models to fund ongoing comprehensive and media-based education campaigns targeted at the general public.
“Many people are misled about the vital role that hunters and anglers play in wildlife conservation and management,” said Taylor, when his endowment for the center was announced. “Hunting and fishing license fees, along with federal excise taxes on sporting equipment, represent the principal funding for all wildlife management and protection. The mission of the Nimrod Education Center is to show the true relationship between sportsmen and conservation."
The NEC is already up and running and has begun the all-important work of reaching out to the public at large and to America’s many conservation groups. Teaching and promoting the North American Model of Wildlife Conservation, the NEC offers:
The NEC operates from Hillsdale College’s main campus and satellite campuses. It will use the college’s many existing facilities to conduct its activities, including the G. H. Gordon Biological Station and the John Anthony Halter Shooting Sports Education Center. The shooting sports center not only boasts Olympic-quality shooting facilities but is also a place where elementary, high school and college students can study the U.S. Constitution and gain an understanding of the philosophical and historical foundations of our nation. In doing so, these students can see the vital connection between America's founding principles and their constitutional rights.
Stewart noted that the book “How to Talk about Hunting: Research-Based Communication Strategies,” based on a research project funded by the National Rifle Association and its NRA Hunters’ Leadership Forum, has been an important contribution to the center and its work.
“I incorporate information from ‘How to Talk about Hunting’ when I teach a class or seminar,” Stewart noted. “This book delivers a very useful blueprint for communicating and debating about hunting deliberately and thoughtfully. I use the book to help teach people to be tactical, practical thinkers and communicators. The book is particularly valuable when we share the message about how hunters, anglers and target shooters pay for conservation."
Stewart added, “Hunting and fishing play a large role in funding conservation efforts that also fuel economic prosperity, with more than 50 million Americans hunting and fishing every year, creating over $200 billion in economic activity and supporting over 1.5 million jobs. The continuation of these time-honored traditions, with an assist from the Nimrod Education Center, will ensure that our lands and waters receive the care and funding they need to stay accessible and magnificent for all Americans.”
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