Deep Gratitude this Thanksgiving

Everyone at Montana Wildlife Federation is taking time to reflect and recognize that this Thanksgiving holiday has many meanings, and that we must take action to not only give thanks, but remember and continue to learn. We hope you get to spend meaningful time with family and friends, travel safely, perhaps engage in acts of service, take a pause to rest and get out into the wilds of Montana.

MWF staff wanted to share what we are grateful for at this time of year, as well as recognize that the Thanksgiving holiday is known by some of our valued partners in advocating for wildlife, habitat and access as a National Day of Mourning. Out of respect for Indigenous people in Montana and across North America, we believe the day can serve as a reminder of our nation’s difficult history of injustices. We commit to finding ways to right wrongs and do meaningful, informed and positive work by building bridges, trust and relations – to move forward in good ways, and move forward together.

This November we’re reflecting on, recognizing and celebrating Native American Heritage Month and we’re feeling gratitude for the Indigenous peoples who have stewarded and cared for the lands now called Montana, the same lands that we all work, play, hunt and fish on, and advocate for.

From filling our freezers with wild game to accessing public lands to hunt and the memories made and shared in the in-between moments, our gratitude runs deep. Practicing gratitude isn’t just an action to take this week, the week of Thanksgiving, or only in the weeks following, but an action we highly recommend taking the whole year through.

Every time we pull a package of wild game from the freezer, we remember that animal, that hunt, the people we shared the experience with and perhaps even sweat, bled and cried with, and we give thanks, over and over again. That is the beauty of hunting – the experience stays on and sustains us, and our hearts and minds.

We’re hoping you and yours have a wonderful week and however you’re celebrating and remembering, that you enjoy the time. We’re grateful for you and thank you for being a part of the work and advocacy of the Montana Wildlife Federation.

A few reflections on gratitude from our staff:

Sonya Smith, our Communications Director, shared that she’s “thankful for hunting with my family and raising our girls to know they are capable of anything.”

sonya hunting

Morgan Marks, our North-Central Field Representative, shared that she’s “thankful to have gone out on her first solo hunts this season, remembering the hunters in her life who can no longer get out – those walks with her rifle greeting the sunrise were for them.”

ilona thankful

Ilona Wilde, our South-Central Field Representative, shared that she’s “so thankful for the opportunity to spend time outdoors and enjoy the change of the seasons with the ones I love.”

Garrett Titus, our Data Manager, shared that he’s “thankful to have the opportunity to come full circle to take my grandpa and dad hunting with my dog.”

garrett hunting family
As the father of an active duty service member, Executive Director, Frank Szollosi, is grateful for the dedication earlier this month of the National Native American Veterans Memorial in Washington, D.C. “I look forward to visiting and reflecting upon the sacrifices made by Indigenous men and women in military service, defending freedom.”


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Alec Underwood

Senior Policy & evelopment Director

Alec is responsible for developing and implementing MWF’s federal conservation advocacy and policy campaigns to protect Montana’s fish and wildlife. He spends most of his free time hunting big game and fly fishing Montana’s cherished trout rivers. He also enjoys backpacking, skiing, photography, and woodworking.