Country music star and popular entertainer Blake Shelton recently donated $20,000 to the Oklahoma Department of Wildlife Conservation.
Shelton - an Oklahoma native, reigning CMA Entertainer of the Year and three-time Male Vocalist of the Year - presented the donation to Wildlife Department Director Richard Hatcher backstage after an Oct. 4 concert in Tulsa. The donation will be used to support the Wildlife Department's suite of outdoor education programs that are designed to introduce youth to the outdoor lifestyle, one that Shelton avidly enjoys himself.
"I grew up out in the country, and life is just better lived outdoors," Shelton said. "The Wildlife Department's youth education efforts are an important way to get kids back outdoors."
The Wildlife Department is the state agency charged with conserving fish and wildlife in Oklahoma and, along with on-the-ground habitat work, much of its activity centers on building on the state's heritage of outdoor recreation. Unlike most state agencies, it receives no general state tax appropriations and is instead funded primarily by sportsmen when they buy hunting and fishing licenses and certain sporting goods. Contributions like Shelton's also are key to conservation projects that benefit wildlife and wildlife habitat.
"The Wildlife Department is committed to introducing youth to a life beyond the couch - a life of appreciating the outdoors through recreation and wildlife conservation," said Department Director Richard Hatcher. "The outdoors and wildlife are things we all can appreciate and strive to pass on to future generations. We know Blake's donation will help pass on our heritage and positively impact the lives of Oklahoma's youth. The Department is grateful to have his support."