By Anna Mitterling, Wildlife Cooperative Coordinator, MUCC
As I sit in my home office, I can hear birds outside, calling me to call it a day and go be outside. The sun is out, the warmth is coming, and the over flowing babbling brook makes sounds of peace and relaxation. For me, April brought the end to my first quarter for 2016, which was a deep relief. The first few months of this year were full to the brim of cooperative meetings, habitat trainings, workshops, and seminars. I traveled across the state, met with amazing people, and learned a lot. It’s those times of exhaustion you really remember why you do what you do. Aside from loving my job, and deeply enjoying helping people enhance their passion; ultimately my WHY is that hunting and enjoying the outdoors is protected and enhanced by building up wildlife cooperatives around Michigan.
I think we can all deeply relate with Luke Bryan’s song of how great it would be to make a living walking in the woods, which is why so many work so hard so they can afford to buy those woods and manage them well. The life and energy we get from being out working our land is refreshing.
A couple events I wanted to highlight are listed below. I have to say, I am so proud of those who are stepping up and leading cooperatives. These people are slowly changing hunting in Michigan. These guys and gals are the world shakers, and when I use my imagination to look another 10 years down the road, the impact these groups of hunters and landowners will have made on the landscape will be remarkable.
Great Lakes Leadership Academy: I was invited to join an elite group of natural resource professionals to gain some training on leadership. This intensive academy consists of three sections, each three and a half days long. I participated in the first section last week, and learned a lot about myself, and how my behavior types can be used to work better and understand others! I am excited to take what I learn back to the cooperative leaders and help them engage even better with their fellow cooperative members.
County Line Whitetail Cooperative: I was invited to their first cooperative meeting this past weekend. They had a great turnout of almost 50 people who are interested in managing their local deer populations. Jake Ehlinger with Habitat Solutions, came and presented on the successes of his own cooperative, Bean Creek Cooperative, as well as provided some background on managing habitat for deer and other wildlife. The Lewis family, Andy, Jason, and Jerry pulled off a great event with good food and great conversations.
Deckerville Pheasant Cooperative: Paul Fox kicked off the first pheasant cooperative meeting for the Wheatland township area near Deckerville yesterday. Nearly 20 people showed up, interested in seeing more pheasants, expanding habitat, and working with the farmers to see what habitat practices they may be interested in implementing.
Also, this weekend I will be presenting on cooperatives at the first ever Michigan Let `em Go & Let `em Grow Whitetail Summit in Mt. Pleasant. The event is booked with 250 of Michigan’s deer hunters who are looking to see changes happen in our hunting. I will be speaking along with Jake Ehlinger, Jim Brauker, and Nick Percy (Killer Food Plots). It looks to be a great event, and I look forward to catching up with some of you there!
In conclusion, take a minute to think about why you do what you do. When you can identify that, you will find more purpose and drive in your life!