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Tennessee Wildlife Federation Welcomes New Board Members

Barred owl at Reelfoot lake by Dr. David Sloas

The Federation is excited to announce the addition of two members to our board of directors and three advisory board members. These board members will help guide and grow the organization to become even better champions of Tennessee’s great outdoors.

“Part of our current strategic plan is to add extremely qualified board members. We have already exceeded expectations by adding these accomplished individuals with diverse interests and backgrounds,” said Ric Wolbrecht, chairman of the board of directors. “Such an accomplishment in a short period of time is indicative of the hard work and dedication of Tennessee Wildlife Federation in achieving its long-term goals.”

 

Anker Browder was recently voted a member of Tennessee Wildlife Federation’s board of directors. Previously, Browder served as a member of our advisory board.

While searching to discover his father’s legacy, Browder discovered Tennessee Wildlife Federation. His father served three terms on what is now the Tennessee Fish & Wildlife Commission, which guides the state agency, and was instrumental to the elk restoration project at the Hatfield Knob viewing area. The Federation was a central partner in the reintroduction of elk to Tennessee.

“As chairman, I’m excited to have Anker as a new advisory board member. As a second-generation conservationist who is following in the footsteps of his father, he has a true understanding of the importance of conservation efforts and wildlife management. Because of that, I am confident Anker will work hard to continue to bring new initiatives and ideas to Tennessee Wildlife Federation,” said Wolbrecht.

Browder has been an active volunteer and supporter of Tennessee Wildlife Federation, especially its youth programs, and is working diligently to expand and strengthen Federation programs in East Tennessee.

Browder is the owner/operator of Browder Metals in Knoxville and is married to Tara Wilson Browder.

 

Bobby M. Goode recently joined Tennessee Wildlife Federation’s advisory board.

Goode retired from USDA Rural Development after nearly 40 years of service, the highlight of which was in 2009 when he was appointed State Director for Tennessee by President Barack Obama.

A native of Crockett County, Goode grew up working on his family farm. He developed a passion for the outdoors at a young age and became an avid hunter and angler. Goode continues to hunt with his sons and has instilled in them the importance of maintaining lands—public and private—for future generations. His family has a Century Farm in Crockett County, and Goode spends retirement managing the farm and other family properties, including land on both the south and middle forks of the Forked Deer River in Haywood, Crockett, and Gibson counties.

“Bobby Goode’s deep roots in the agricultural and rural communities in Tennessee will help us better connect with members of those communities and understand the issues and concerns they face. His continued commitment to maintaining the family’s farming legacy is a testament to the importance of maintaining open spaces rather than parceling the land for development,” stated Wolbrecht.

Goode and his wife Melinda Poteet live in Dresden and have two sons and two grandchildren.

 

William “Billy” Oehmig is the newest member of the board of directors.

Oehmig is the principal of Kestrel Capital, LLC—an investment advisory firm based in Chattanooga—and is an advisory partner to the Sterling Group. He has led a successful and lucrative career in banking, mergers, acquisitions, and equity investments.

Oehmig is an avid sportsman and wildlife conservationist. He began hunting and fishing before the age of five and had harvested his first dove and quail by six. His conservation interests include contributions to Blue Creek Ranch in Texas, a more than 10,000-acre waterfowl development that over-winters more than 100,000 migratory waterfowl and provides habitat for deer and other game. Additionally, he is a member/owner of the Mud Lake Duck Club in Arkansas, a historic waterfowl development.

Oehmig was presented the Texas Land Stewards award by then-Governor George Bush and is a life sponsor for prominent sportsmen organizations.

About Oehmig, Chairman Wolbrecht remarked, “Billy is not only a champion of the outdoors and lifelong conservationist, he is also a savvy businessman. His business acumen and connections with numerous industries and nonprofits throughout the country is a huge asset to our board and Tennessee Wildlife Federation as a whole. We are looking forward to his contributions to the organization.”

Oehmig recently returned to his native Tennessee and his desire to continue to champion conservation efforts led him to the Federation.

 

Dr. David Sloas was voted onto the Federation’s Advisory Board in December 2016.

Sloas, a retired gastroenterologist from Cordova, continues to serve patients by sharing warmth through his wildlife photography. What started as a desire to ensure patients “wouldn’t have to stare at blank walls” developed into a passion for Sloas. His donated photographs adorn the walls of each patient room at Methodist Le Bonheur Hospital in Memphis and proceeds from photographs sold throughout the United States are donated to children’s charities, wildlife and leadership initiatives, and others.

Sloas’ love for wildlife and photography initially connected him with the Federation. His photographs were featured on the organization’s 2016 and 2017 calendar covers and hang in the office.

Sloas has transformed his own property into a Certified Wildlife Habitat optimized for photography. He also has developed, implemented, and advocates for a method of creating perennial gardens that supports wildlife, increases tourism, and reduces maintenance costs in Tennessee State Parks.

Dr. Sloas has supported multiple Federation projects, including our calendar contests, fundraising efforts, and Hunters for the Hungry Hunger Challenges. Sloas has further supported youth engagement programs by hosting hunts and providing equipment and donations to ensure successful hunting experiences.

“Dr. Sloas brings a unique talent to our advisory board; that is his ability to showcase wildlife, nature, and habitats through his art of photography. In so doing, he creates a visual representation of the Federation’s conservation efforts. His interests and commitments extend beyond that and include engaging youth, engineering and creating responsive habitats, and investing in public lands,” said Wolbrecht.

 

Ben C. West, Ph.D., joined the advisory board in August.

West, a professor for the University of Tennessee Extension and on sabbatical as its Western Region Director, is concluding his tenure as the director of Lone Oaks Farm. He holds a Ph.D. in wildlife from Utah State University.

A true collaborator, West seeks to broaden the reach of the UT Extension, the 4-H mission, and Federation programs. In this vein, West has already hosted youth engagement programs at the Lone Oaks Farm facility—the future home of West Tennessee’s 4-H camp—and engaged staff and volunteers at retreats there.

“I’m excited to welcome Ben to the advisory board,” said Wolbrecht. “He is another great conduit to the agricultural community and he’s passionate about human dimensions, especially youth engagement activities. Tennessee Wildlife Federation will truly benefit from Ben’s professional associations and guidance, especially with regard to engaging youth, families, and businesses in outdoor recreation. We’re looking forward to having Federation retreats at the Lone Oaks facility and showcasing all that this partnership has to offer.”

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