Author: Cassie Scott
Over 300 representatives from the hunting, fishing, shooting and boating communities met in May at the two-day National R3 Symposium to discuss the best ways to recruit, retain and reactivate outdoors enthusiasts nationwide. The Archery Trade Association was one of the event’s chief sponsors.
The National R3 Symposium was held at the Cornhusker Marriot Hotel in Lincoln, Nebraska, May 21 to 23. It was the first nationwide event to pool the resources and talents of the outdoors industry to ensure the future of outdoor recreation through recruitment, retention and reactivation efforts.
The event drew 326 experts from over 100 outdoors organizations, including 40 state fish-and-wildlife agencies and every major conservation/sportsmen’s group in the country.
Cyrus Baird, programs director for the Council to Advance Hunting and Shooting Sports, was impressed by the turnout.
“We were planning for about 200 to 250 participants, so having 326 people register was a big deal,” Baird said. “It was great to get that many people in the room, spanning the entire outdoor recreation spectrum. It shows the groundswell of support we had for this event.”
The event drew 326 experts from over 100 outdoors organizations, including 40 state fish-and-wildlife agencies and every major conservation/sportsmen’s group in the country. Photo Credit: CAHSS.
Representing the ATA were Matt Kormann, its CEO/president; Dan Forster, vice president and chief conservation officer; Jennifer Mazur, senior director of outreach and education; and Josh Gold, senior manager of R3 and state relations.
The attendees discussed how to recruit, retain and reactivate outdoor recreationists. They believe R3 collaborations and partnerships are vital to the effort’s success. To strengthen those initiatives, the ATA, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, National Shooting Sports Foundation, Association of Fish and Wildlife Agencies and other organizations signed a memorandum of understanding to work together to promote R3 programs.
Forster said the MOU highlights a strong commitment to joint R3 efforts between federal agencies, state wildlife agencies and industry organizations.
The attendees also took an interactive poll on R3 initiatives, which was conducted by the DJ Case & Associates research firm. The poll’s results will help those running R3 programs to interact and learn from each other.
The participants also took time during the event to honor Jay McAninch, ATA’s former CEO/president; and Matthew Dunfee, the Wildlife Management Institute’s director of special programs; for their efforts to create and develop the R3 movement.
Kormann said participating in the symposium boosted his optimism. In a recent blog Kormann wrote: “The challenges ahead might seem insurmountable, but we’re a team of brilliant organizations that are passionate about conservation. I wouldn’t bet against us when we stand together.”
Forster agreed. “We’re only going to be successful if individual enthusiasts, participants and business owners take ownership and responsibility to help grow our sports,” he said. “We won’t get an effective program or strategy out of the R3 Symposium unless folks on the ground put forth the effort and do their part.”
The participants also took time during the event to honor Jay McAninch, ATA’s former CEO/president; and Matthew Dunfee, the Wildlife Management Institute’s director of special programs; for their efforts to create and develop the R3 movement. Photo Credit: CAHSS.
ATA members can do their part by connecting in R3 through several initiatives:
- Get involved with your state’s R3 programs by contacting your state’s R3 representatives and program coordinators. Click your state at the bottom of the ATA’s Contact Uspage to find up-to-date contact information.
2. Join the National R3 Community websiteto connect with partners and engage in the conversation.
3. Contact Josh Gold, ATA’s senior manager of R3 and state relations, for advice and assistance at (321) 537-3140 or firstname.lastname@example.org.