RENOVATION UPDATE

Dear Friends of Wonders of Wildlife,


On behalf of the board of directors, I would like to thank our members, friends, and supporters for their continued patience in the temporary closure and transformation of WOW from an outstanding educational and entertaining facility, into a world-class attraction that when completed, will be of great significance for Springfield and beyond. 
 

Since closing we have made substantial progress with the most visible being the construction of a new perimeter “ring road” with waterfalls and ponds, the exterior demolition and site work preparation for the building expansion, and the completion of  the Conservation Education Center / Banquet Hall. There has also been tremendous physical progress on our new Wildlife Galleries area.  However, by far the most significant progress we are making is in the “behind the scenes” development of the complex architectural plans required before each phase of the physical construction can begin.  All of these engineering and other development plans continue to advance rapidly with ongoing meetings of the design team and our world-renowned architectural firm P.G.A.V.  There is a huge commitment to make sure this project is engineered properly, but it’s also been an eye-opener for me to see the complexity of this redesign that is so unlike the remodeling of a simple office building, home, or other structure.

 

Phase 1, which includes the Conservation Education Center / Banquet Hall, reopened January 2012.  The grand reopening of the entire Wonders of Wildlife facility is scheduled for March 2015.

As Chairman of the Board, I continue to be impressed with the creativity and commitment for excellence in this project. Thanks to the generous contributions of John Morris and Bass Pro Shops, the museum has been able to develop the plans for a world-class living facility that people from all across the country will want to visit.  During these challenging economic times it is important to note that as we embark on our expansion, we are doing so on very sound financial footing.  Over the past 5 years the museum has been very fortunate to have received private donations totaling over $19 million in cash plus an additional $2.5 million in pledges, making it possible for us to retire all long term debt and become a debt free institution.

Additionally our ambitious expansion project is being funded almost entirely by additional private cash contributions.

I have proudly volunteered to serve on this board since the beginning, watching the museum grow from a dream to a shared vision to one of the most visited paid museums in America.  To be sure, the WOW museum has become a beacon for the proud heritage of hunting and fishing and is a cornerstone for the future of conservation in America. Please know that we have a great fiduciary responsibility as a board, both to create a facility that will greatly enhance tourism revenues to the City of Springfield and to those donors who have trusted us with their contributions to re-create and re-construct a world-class facility. I pledge to keep you updated on progress.

 

Sincerely,


Rob Keck
Board Chairman
Wonders of Wildlife

NEW EXHIBITS

Attendance


Wonders of Wildlife, when open, consistently attracted more than 225,000 visitors annually, which surpassed attendance at such high profile national attractions as the National Football Hall of Fame, P.G.A. World Golf Hall of Fame, the International Tennis Hall of Fame and many other prominent museums.

New Exhibits

The new Wonders of Wildlife will feature exhibits modeled after the great nocturnal exhibit at The Henry Doorly Zoo and the Rain Forest Exhibit at The Dallas World Aquarium. Wonders of Wildlife will also include some new surprises not found in any of the major aquariums. Many world-class exhibits and displays are planned including several interactive displays that will heighten the visitors’ experience. Many of these are aimed at entertaining and educating young visitors. Some of the displays and features include a flooded rain forest exhibit, shark and ray touch tanks, catfish and turtle feeding pools, a large living coral tank, a bird aviary and a nocturnal swamp just to name a few. Wonders of Wildlife will increase in size from 126,100 to more than 235,000 square feet with many new exhibits. a new 180 seat multi-purpose auditorium/theatre and new Conservation Education Center/Exhibition Hall.  The Conservation Education Center will provide space for the WOW educational programs and the Springfield Public Schools WOLF School to provide a fun and educational space for young people.

 

CHAIRMAN OF THE BOARD

Rob Keck Chairman of the Board, Wonders of Wildlife, RedHead Pro Hunting Team

 

Rob Keck has been a lifelong dedicated hunter, angler, and trapper as well as a deeply committed conservationist of international scope. From March of 1981 through that same month in 2008, he led the National Wild Turkey Federation, a nonprofit conservation organization headquartered in Edgefield, SC, as its chief executive officer. Under his leadership, the NWTF became one of the most dynamic, fastest growing single species conservation organizations in North America. Membership grew from 15,000 in 1978 when Rob began as Director of Chapter Development to well over 500,000 members. During that time 2350 chapters were organized across the U.S., Canada, and Mexico where the Federation and its partners raised and spent more than $300 million restoring and conserving wild turkeys, upholding hunting traditions and enhancing or acquiring more than 13 million acres of wildlife habitat.

Rob’s focus is marketing and selling the sizzle of wildlife conservation as well as finding a place for everyone to take part in our outdoor traditions. Rob hosted the Federation’s award winning national television program, “Turkey Call”, and served as executive producer for the NWTF’s other two national TV programs, “Turkey Country” and “Get in the Game”. From March of 1977 to March of 2008 he was a featured columnist for “Turkey Call” magazine as well as being a sought after keynote speaker throughout the country. In addition, he made 12 appearances on the stage of the Grand Ole Opry and served as Grand Marshal for NASCAR’s Bass Pro Shops Atlanta 500 race in 2003, 2004, 2005, and 2006.

 

His lifelong commitment to wildlife management and upholding our hunting traditions has given him many opportunities to influence conservation and natural resource policy issues. In 2006, Rob was appointed by Interior Secretary Gale A. Norton to the Sporting Conservation Council, a Federal Advisory Committee. He was reappointed to the council in 2007 by Secretary of the Interior Dirk Kempthorne. In addition, Rob has served on a variety of boards of directors, and currently includes the second term on the Congressional Sportsmen’s Foundation and is the Chairman of the Board of the Wonders of Wildlife.

 

Besides his faith and love for his wife of 28 years, Susan , their two daughters Carolyn and Heather and their husbands, turkey hunting is Rob’s passion. He is a past U.S. Open and World Champion turkey caller, who has built and designed calls and related equipment since 1969. In addition, Rob was the first to take wild turkeys in every state[49] that supports a season as well as Canada, Mexico, Guatemala,and New Zealand. Having said that, he says that releasing a wild turkey into new habitat is even a greater thrill.

 

Rob’s dedication and leadership to our outdoor and hunting heritage prompted Petersen’s Hunting Magazine to name him one of hunting’s 25 most influential personalities of the 20th century.

PRESS RELEASES

WOW NAMES NEW VICE CHAIRMAN OF THE BOARD AND NEW WOW BOARD MEMBER

 

Wonders of Wildlife is pleased to announce the election of Mike Nussman as the new Vice Chairman of the Board of Wonders of Wildlife. The board unanimously elected Nussman at its bi-annual meeting held last week.

 

Nussman is President and CEO of the American Sportfishing Association (ASA), the recreational fishing industry’s trade association. He joined the association as Vice President for Governmental Affairs in 1993 and took the helm as President in October 2001. While at ASA, Nussman has been a driving force behind reauthorization of the Wallop-Breaux Sport Fish Restoration Act, including amendments that established the Recreational Fishing and Boating Foundation and provided nearly $100 million for a nationwide, collaborative campaign to promote these outdoor pastimes.

 

Wonders of Wildlife is also pleased to announce H. Dale Hall has been selected as a Wonders of Wildlife board member. Hall is the Chief Executive Officer of Ducks Unlimited, Inc., joining the 73-year-old conservation organization in May 2010. In addition to owning his own natural resources consulting company, Hall spent 30 years with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, most recently as its director.

 

In making these elections to the Wonders of Wildlife board, Rob Keck, Chairman of the Board said, “Mike Nussman and Dale Hall’s many years of leadership in the conservation community will bring tremendous leadership, guidance and prestige to an already outstanding board of directors.”

 
 
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