NWTF Chapter Leaves Lasting Impact at Marion County Fair Kids Day

EDGEFIELD, S.C. — The 19th annual Kids Day at the Marion County Fair in southern Illinois, held Monday, July 31, witnessed an overwhelming turnout of attendees, proving to be a tremendous success. With an astounding number of 852 youth and approximately 500 adults present at the fairgrounds, the day was filled with excitement and educational experiences.

Event coordinator and Ag in the Classroom teacher Meggan Heistand’s efforts, along with the support from 40 businesses and organizations are attributed to the success of the event.

Aimed at giving children an immersive and hands-on taste of farm life, all the activities during the event were free of charge. The activities, including digging for potatoes, apple picking, collecting eggs and milking a cow, allowed children to learn about agriculture and farm life in a fun and interactive way.

Many new activities were available this year, including participation from the Forbes Lake Limbhangers Chapter of the National Wild Turkey Federation. Volunteers from the chapter attended the event, setting up their JAKE’s Take Aim Blowup BB Gun Range.

NWTF Forbes Lake Limbhangers member Glenn Perry teaches shooting skills to children.

Gerald Lively, NWTF Illinois State Chapter president, explained that nearly half of the participating youth at this event had never fired a BB gun before.

“We always start with getting the kids familiar with the parts of the gun, how to turn on the safety and give a rundown of gun safety,” Lively said.

After introducing the children to the gun and ensuring gun safety, volunteers assisted them in learning how to properly shoulder the gun and fire. The ultimate goal is to provide each participating child, regardless of age, with the opportunity to make a shot on target.

“Every kid left with a big smile on their face,” Lively said. “When we would get the target back to them and they could see where they hit it, they would get so excited and insisted on taking the target home with them.”

Overall, the NWTF activity at the Kids Day allowed for many children to learn about the mission of the NWTF to conserve the wild turkey and protect our hunting heritage. The Forbes Lake Limbhangers Chapter aspires for such events to encourage greater participation among youth in their local JAKES program.

“Our NWTF chapter, the Forbes Lake Limbhangers, really enjoys doing events with kids like this one and JAKES Day,” Lively said. “At the end of the day, it is hard to tell who had the most fun and satisfaction, the kids or us.”

About the National Wild Turkey Federation

Since 1973, the National Wild Turkey Federation has invested over half a billion dollars into wildlife conservation and has conserved or enhanced over 22 million acres of critical wildlife habitat. The organization continues to drive wildlife conservation, forest resiliency and robust recreational opportunities throughout the U.S. by working across boundaries on a landscape scale.

2023 is the NWTF’s 50th Anniversary and an opportunity to propel the organization’s mission into the future while honoring its rich history. For its 50th Anniversary, the NWTF has set six ambitious goals: positively impact 1 million acres of wildlife habitat; raise $500,000 for wild turkey research; increase membership to 250,000 members; dedicate $1 million to education and outreach programs; raise $5 million to invest in technology and NWTF’s people; and raise $5 million to build toward a $50 million endowment for the future. Learn how you can help us reach these lofty goals.

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