In the Field: The Cooperative Benefit

MUCC Wildlife Cooperative Coordinator: Anna Mitterling MUCC Wildlife Cooperative Coordinator: Anna Mitterling
by Anna Mitterling, Wildlife Cooperative Coordinator
On Saturday I had the pleasure of attending the Michigan Pheasants Forever Convention. It was a great event filled with good speakers and committed leaders in the wildlife management community. One thing that never ceases to amaze me about being at events like this, is the level of dedication, drive, and purpose of the attendees.
There is something captivating about partaking in the essence of wildlife management. The more you understand what is at stake, the more you strive to make a difference for future generations. Many of the conversations at the convention oriented around how to manage and create habitat, and strategizing how to engage neighbors into increasing the habitat available to wildlife.
The impacts of these conversations will lead to changes on a landscape and hopefully expand habitat availability; this is why Michigan Wildlife Cooperatives program exists. The main focus of this new program is to expand and enhance wildlife habitat on private lands. It is events such as the Michigan Pheasants Forever Convention and meetings among landowners at a local level that sparks conversation, equips individuals with knowledge and resources, and brings the people together who will get the job done.
Michigan Wildlife Cooperatives is funded in part by Michigan United Conservation Clubs, the Michigan Department of Natural Resources, Quality Deer Management Association, and Pheasants Forever. This dynamic partnership has a vibrant collection of people and resources to equip landowners in establishing or improving existing wildlife cooperatives around the state of Michigan. This new program empowers and validates the private land owner’s role in improving habitat and harvest on their properties; at the same time encouraging them to connect with their neighbors to see habitat and harvest management done at a landscape level across multiple parcels.
Being part of a wildlife cooperative has many benefits. It increases monetary and knowledge resources to collective landowners. Cooperative membership has been shown to improve hunting satisfaction. Wildlife management can be done on a broader scale and in communication with multiple invested people over a larger landscape than any one landowner could possibly do.  A wildlife cooperative can unite neighbors, initiate relationships, and create a venue where wildlife managers can talk about observations, disease, population levels, etc., and discuss what can be done amongst the group to bring improvement in these areas.
If you want to see changes happen on your surrounding landscape and you are willing to get a couple neighbors together who would like to see change as well - please contact me. I would love to come out and talk with you about what starting your own wildlife cooperative could look like.  There is money out there to help you create or improve habitat on your properties, and there is a pool of individuals who are available to help you plan out the work.  Feel free to email me at amitterling@mucc.org or call me at 517-346-6454.
 

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