"A Century of Commitment to Research, Education and Conservation"

2017 Annual Report

Annual Report of the American Wildlife Conservation Foundation

The American Wildlife Conservation Foundation (AWCF) currently consists of supporting and corporate members, with interests in research, habitat management and educational outreach related to fish and wildlife resources. The official year of AWCF is the calendar year. All information in this report is complete through December 31, 2017.

From the Desk of the President, Gary Will

2017 was another successful year for the Foundation. Several new members were added to the roster and came from various backgrounds. No major gifts were received this year; however, the portfolio continues to be well administered through Morgan/Stanley. Richard Capozza continues to be the Foundation’s legal counsel.

Two seminars were held in the spring and fall. The spring seminar focused on a fawn mortality study at the Fort Drum Army Base, which we are funding. The fall seminar was held at the Baltimore Woods Nature Center near Marcellus, NY. This seminar involved a-hands-on mini course concerning the identification of invasive plants. They were different in scope and very different in content. The educational benefit of seminars was significant. Then in October, we held a member meeting at another nature center near Canastota, namely the Great Swamp Conservancy.

In August the Finance Committee met with Rick Schibel our Financial Advisor with Morgan Stanley. In late December we met again with a new adviser, Chad Steckle, also of Morgan Stanley. In addition, Dan Wentworth, the incoming Treasurer and Financial Officer attended the meeting in Morrisville. Mike Cavanaugh will be stepping down from these two positions as of December 31, 2017.

Once again, the Foundation met its objective of sponsoring six well written Grant applications all dealing with species research. In addition, we have a new logo design and a new membership brochure. The website continued to be well managed as interest continues to increase.

Looking forward the task of the Foundation continues to support the three objectives of research, habitat management and conservation education. The need to recruit additional members and new funding sources continues to be paramount. New members will be the officers of the Foundation in the future. 2017 was a year of transition in many ways. Transition will continue in 2018. Members voted to eliminate all membership categories and replace them with an all-encompassing $50 membership fee.

From the Desk of the Vice President, Daniel Leete

The Vice President of AWCF has two basic annual goals. The first involves coordination of seminars, member and Board of Director meetings. The second goal is to enrich the endowment of this foundation.


Two successful seminars were held this past year. In June, Martin Feehan, a graduate student under the direction of Dr. Paul Curtis at Cornell University provided a most informative presentation concerning fawn survival at the Fort Drum Army Military Installation located near Watertown, NY. In October, the membership had an opportunity for a hands-on workshop at Baltimore Woods Nature Center near Marcellus, NY. Specifically, attendees received a first-class presentation concerning Invasive Plant Species. In many ways this was a first for AWCF, as it not only involved our membership; it was an open to the public. In addition, it was a collaborative effort that involved five additional organizations including Baltimore Woods, The Great Swamp Conservancy, Madison County Cooperative Extension, Madison County Planning Department and Onondaga County Soil and Water Conservation District. This event was considered a significant and positive experiment in terms of the Foundation’s public education goal.

Increasing membership was also a necessary activity of this office. A new member, Katie Stuart (NH) created a new brochure which is attractive, updated and will be a very important document to recruiting new members. Another new member - Dan Wentworth - has been elected to the position of Treasurer starting January 2nd, 2018.

The second annual goal pertains to increasing endowment assets. An effort was made to request a major contribution from five corporations. Unfortunately, there wasn’t a positive response. On the other hand, new members have increased the working capital of the Foundation. And, thanks to a positive economy, the portfolio has the highest level of revenue ever recorded.

From the Desk of the Secretary, Dr. Peg Sauer

The American Wildlife Conservation Foundation started 2017 with 41 members and ended with 16 new members and one-member loss. Most of new memberships were the results of recruitment efforts by Vice-President Daniel Leete. His nationwide recruitment efforts brought new members from other states, including Connecticut, New Hampshire, Michigan, Colorado, and Wisconsin. Bradley Griffin submitted a letter of “relinquishment” on October 3, his 85 th birthday.

Of the 57 members on the roster, 31 members submitted dues for total of $2,700. Secretarial duties included recording and disseminating minutes of one Board meeting in March at Herkimer and one members’ meeting in June at Watertown with a presentation on fawn survival at Fort Drum by Martin Feehan, a graduate student under Paul Curtis at Cornell University. The Secretary was absent from the October member meeting due to vehicle difficulties. Mike Cavanaugh filled in admirably. The meeting was held at Great Swamp Nature Conservancy in Canastota.

From the Desk of Outreach Chair, Mike Cavanaugh


This year saw a continuation of the re-design and layout of the AWCF website started in 2016 and supporting pages to provide a more attractive and accessible interface for the visitor to our site. Improvements included, re-formatting to make the text/graphics areas full screen to accommodate more modern displays, make navigation buttons more prominent and incorporate more pictures in the presentation. The member application, grant application and supporting documents have been updated.

The website content has been updated on a regular basis with information about the Foundation, it’s meetings and a new section called “Wildlife in the News” which highlights current wildlife related issues that may be of interest to AWCF membership. The site was updated in January, March, April, September, November and December of 2017.

Approximately 58 individual inquiries/correspondence were received through the “Contact Us” section of the website. Most were related to funding opportunities or application procedures. All were answered in a timely fashion. A great improvement has been the installation of a “Bot Detector” designed to eliminate e-mails that were automatically generated, commonly called “spam. The biggest remaining issues are: 1) the large number of inquiries from countries not allowed in the AWCF By-Laws (Europe, Africa, South America, Asia) and; 2) a large number of questions about deadlines and other information already covered in the application webpage.

Logo Design

A significate effort was made to update the AWCF Logo for use on the website, correspondence, business cards, etc. An effort was made to incorporate ideas brought forth by AWCF Board members. A total of 5 design revisions were made.

By Law Revisions

From August through November 2017, a committee worked on updating the AWCF By Laws to incorporate a new membership/dues structure, allow for voting by proxy and electronic participation of board members via phone, internet or other means.

From the Desk of Grant Committee Chair, John Hasenjager

It was a busy year for the grants committee.  With the addition of two new members we gained new insight about grants.  We had 62 applications this year and funded six.  A total of $11,924 was distributed.  A verity of subjects was covered this year in the different applications.

The 6 grants awarded included:

1    Chris Sutherland of the University of Massachusetts for his study " Investigating the relationship between abundance and occurrence of the American Martin in the northern Appalachians"

2    Dr. Kimberly M.Andrews of the University of Georgia for here study " The ecological cost and benefits of Nine-banded Armadillos on Barrier Islands"

3    Alexandra Vik of  SUNY College at Oneonta  "Wood Turtle nesting ecology, mating behavior and genetic diversity in disturbed and undisturbed nesting sits"

4    Janet Mann, Ph,D, from Georgetown University  " Distribution abundance and population of Bottle Nose Dolphins"

5    Janet Genz, Ph.D. from the University of West Georgia  " Energy demands in hatchery-raised Lake Sturgeon"

6    Paul G. Jensen. Ph.D. NYSDEC at Warrensburg, NY  " American Marten movements and space use relative to pulses in mast production and prey fluctuations"

In addition, the Foundation spent $2,000 on a project that created a bibliography concerning feral cats. The document was completed by John Davis PhD. SUNY Albany.

The quality and quantity of applications continues to increase and improve.

From the Desk of the 2018 Treasurer, Dan Wentworth: 2017 Audit Report

Audit Report for January 1, 2017 to December 31, 2017.

The assets of this Foundation are held in two accounts. The checking account is held at M&T Bank. The portfolio is maintained and managed by Morgan Stanley in Skaneateles, New York.

The checking balance on December 31, 2016 was $1,593.20, the balance as of December 27, 2017 was $11,456.23. Deposits totaled $26,600 and withdrawals equaled $16,736.97. Fifteen Checks were written. Eight grants were awarded totaling $15,924.

The portfolio balance at the beginning of the year, January 1, 2017 was $261,573.62. Over the course of the year, $24,000 was transferred out of the portfolio and into the checking account. The closing balance as of December 27, 2017 was $275,068.89.

From the Desk of the Treasurer and Finance Officer, Mike Cavanaugh

Finance Report

In general, our portfolio has experienced steady growth over the past year, although it is not as high as it was in the period from January 1 2014 to August 1, 2015. January 1, 2017 our Morgan Stanley portfolio was valued at $261,573.62. The ending balance (as of December 31, 2017) was $ 276,377.18. Program withdrawals from the Morgan Stanley account for 2017 amounted to $24,000 transfer to checking to cover existing and anticipated grant obligations. Morgan Stanley quarterly brokerage fees totaled $4,671.06.

When you add the transfers to checking ($24,000.00) to the net gain of the investment portfolio, the AWCF portfolio grew by $37,495.30

The treasurer has started tracking monthly statements beginning 1/1/2016 on an Excel spreadsheet. It is important to note that our monthly balances denote not only the relative rise and fall of our portfolio, but also deductions made from our account due to transfers to checking ($18,000 since 1/1/16) and ($4,525.43 since 1/1/16)

Current value of our Morgan Stanley portfolio is $276,377.18 (as of 12/31/2017)

Treasurers Report

The Treasurer made considerable effort to reconcile apparent errors in the checkbook for the 2016 year. In addition to a hand ledger being maintained in the check register, we are now maintaining our checking records on an Excel Spreadsheet which contains the rectified 2016 records and continues into the current year.

Note that in transferring the account files to the current treasurer, 2 packets of checks were misplaced. Upon discovering the error, the treasurer immediately visited M&T Bank and confirmed that none of the checks in the missing packets were used. As a precautionary measure, we placed a “Stop Payment” order on checks #1026 through 1075. The treasurer negotiated a waiver of fees normally associated with Stop Payment orders.

Checkbook Balance on 1/1/2017 $1,593.20
Deposits $26,600.00 (includes $24,000 transfer from Morgan Stanley)
Payments $16,736.97 (includes $13,924 in projects funded and $2,812.97 in AWCF administrative expenses, taxes and fees)
Checkbook Balance on 12/31/2017 $11,456.23*

*Note As of this date, $150 in dues payment/donations have not cleared M&T Bank.