After country singer and The Voice judge/coach Blake Shelton spent the spring as an accidental mascot of the Oklahoma teacher walkout, Shelton will become an actual fundraising mascot for the state’s wildlife conservation effort.
In April, an Ada elementary school student gained attention for finding that she shared a textbook that was used by Shelton in 1982. The textbook became a symbol for educators’ fight for increased school funding following a teacher pay raise.
The textbook story garnered national headlines on every conceivable platform, but Shelton never actually made a public statement about Oklahoma’s education crisis — given his mass appeal, we at Chicken-Fried News understand not wanting to wade into the muddy waters of Oklahoma politics.
Imagine our surprise last week when Shelton was appointed to the board of a foundation that will raise money for Oklahoma Department of Wildlife Conservation.
In a vacuum, bringing Shelton’s cache to help the state’s nature preserves and wildlife population fend off some of the complications that come from encroaching human life is an important endeavor.
The state agency doesn’t receive appropriated money from the Legislature, instead using revenue from hunting and fishing licenses and federal excise taxes on fishing and hunting equipment. A spokesperson with Oklahoma Department of Wildlife Conservation told the Associated Press that Shelton’s status will allow people to see hunting and fishing as “mainstream.”
The nonprofit foundation is still awaiting approval from the Internal Revenue Service (IRS).
If only Shelton could help make sure that in the future, the state receives at least adequate funding so school districts operating with four-day school weeks isn’t as “mainstream” as hunting or fishing.