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SWF convention opens with thanks for legacy of conservation

The Saskatchewan Wildlife Federation will be hosting their 90th annual convention in Moose Jaw from Feb. 14-16

The 90th Saskatchewan Wildlife Federation convention opened with acknowledgement and thanks for the efforts and hard work of the past from the organization's out-going president.

Heath Dreger, whose three-year term as SWF president will end at the end of the convention Saturday, thanked and saluted their members for their dedication and service during his opening remarks and said that "they make the SWF the most coveted conservation organization across Canada."

"Success without integrity means nothing. We have to maintain our integrity to ensure another 90 years of success," Dreger said.

The annual convention is expected to draw more than 200 delegates to the Heritage Inn over the course of its three days. The SWF is a non-profit, non-government, charitable conservation organization of over 33,000 members in 122 branches across Saskatchewan.

"Fishing, trapping, shooting, hunting sports and wildlife-oriented activities have long been among this province's most popular pastimes. Wildlife conservation and habitat preservation  form the backbone of our province's culture, history and economy," said Greg Lawrence, Sask Party MLA for Moose Jaw Wakamow in addressing the delegates. "All across Saskatchewan, the SWF contributes to charitable organizations, children's initiatives, hunter safety education and responsible, sustainable fishing. Responsible, caring stewards of the land are not born that way, they are developed. This is possible through the work and experiences of the Wildlife Federation advocates."

The mission of the SWF is to "ensure the wild life legacy we leave to our children surpasses that which we inherited.”

To that end, Dreger thanked and praised the work of board members from the present and the past for their efforts over the years. 

"This commitment is not something that we do, it's something we are," Dreger said. "The time and effort required to make sure that the voice of Saskatchewan's wildlife, fisheries and habitat is both heard and listened to is unfathomable. It's often thankless job and doesn't get the respect and admiration that it fully deserves. You've earned my respect and admiration for the work that you do."

During his term as president, the provincial government announced a 10-year game  management plan from 2018-28, which Dreger called "a huge milestone for conservation in Saskatchewan."

Deger noted that there were challenges during his three years as president and he is looking forward to his role on the board as past president.

"I felt a great sense of pride through the great times and I was humbled and learned lessons through the rough times," Dreger said. "The important part was that the organization all moved forward together as a family -- a family that challenges each other to succeed and stands tall in support of one another so that we don't fall.

"May you all take something from this year's convention that sparks that desire or keep that fire burning within you to keep fighting for our wildlife in this province," Dreger concluded.

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