The federation is more than a fraternity for hunters and fishermen with a stunning array of conservation projects and programs benefiting hunters and fishermen.
The Saskatchewan Wildlife Federation will be celebrating their 90th anniversary this year and there couldn't be a more fitting location than Moose Jaw for their annual convention. This is the 12th time that the Moose Jaw Wildlife Federation has hosted the convention, with the first being in 1938.
The Whooping Crane became the official emblem of the SWF in 1968.
Moose Jaw is the location of the provincial office of Saskatchewan Wildlife Federation, as well as having a local chapter here, too. The Saskatchewan Wildlife Federation's first head office was opened in Moose Jaw in the 1970s and they have never left.
Now the SWF are preparing to host 250-300 delegates from Feb. 14-16 at the Heritage Inn.
"Throughout its history, Moose Jaw has always been a really active club in Saskatchewan Wildlife," said Sandra Dewald from the Moose Jaw Wildlife Federation.
The SWF is a non-profit, non-government, charitable organization of over 30,000 members with 120 affiliated branches across the province. Per capita, it is the largest wildlife conservation organization of its kind in the world
The Saskatchewan Fish & Game Protective Association was formed through the initiative of three individuals: Judge Bence and Tom Coburn from North Battleford and Stan Naden from Regina who wanted to provide "a united provincial voice for Saskatchewan’s anglers and hunters to protect our unparalleled natural resources."
In 1932, the name was changed to the Saskatchewan Fish & Game League and it already boasted 14 branches. In 1966 the name was changed again to The Saskatchewan Wildlife Federation and again in 1982 as the "The" was dropped when it was registered as a non-profit organization.
Moose Jaw's branch is believed to have joined in 1937. Saskatoon's Morris Ferrie became the first full-time paid employee in 1954 and served as executive director. Ed Begin from Moose Jaw was also a long-serving member of the SWF.
"In 1970, after volunteering for several years, Ed was hired as the assistant secretary manager for the SWF. He then went on to become the executive director (after Morris Ferrie retired)," said Marilee Heron from the Saskatchewan Wildlife Federation. "The official office has always been in Moose Jaw."
That office started upstairs in the Post Office and then moved into 444 River St. W. They then bought their first permanent home in 2006 at their current location at 9 Lancaster Rd.
Ed Begin retired in 1998 and the SWF honours him by handing out the Ed Begin Conservation Project Award at their annual convention.
The Saskatchewan Wildlife Federation awards banquet will conclude the convention on Saturday night with the band Hit N Run performing at the social that follows.
Bruce Vincent, a motivational speaker who is a third-generation logger from Libby, Montana, will be the keynote speaker at the convention.
Conservative Party of Canada MP Robert Sopuck from Manitoba, the Canadian Wildlife Federation's Past Presidents' Award winner in 2014, will also speak at the convention. Sopuck was appointed as the Critic for Wildlife Conservation and Parks Canada in 2015.