Wildlife Wednesday: Great Outdoors Month

Sarah Topp Sarah Topp
Believe it or not, it is indeed June already! Time has just been flying by through my service as the Huron Pines AmeriCorps member here with MUCC. As this month marks the halfway point of my term as the Wildlife Volunteer Coordinator for MUCC’s On the Ground program; June is also designated as Great Outdoors Month each year through a Presidential Proclamation. An entire month is dedicated to celebrating and experiencing the great outdoors by presenting national event dates throughout the month. That’s pretty darn cool.
Wildlife also walks along Michigan's North Country Trail Wildlife also walks along Michigan's North Country Trail
Michigan has many beautiful places; take advantage of them and go on a hike in one of Michigan's recreation areas for National Trails Day, kayak and fish a different lake or river in Michigan each day for National Fishing & Boating Week (with a water source only 6 miles away in any direction you go, this should be easy to accomplish), explore a part of your nearby state land that's unfamiliar to you for Get Outdoors day-maybe you'll find a prime public land hunting spot for this fall! Those are some great examples of the opportunities presented during this month dedicated to getting outdoors and appreciating our public land; how fortunate we are here in Michigan to have so much to appreciate.
P.S. Lovejoy Memorial along the Shingle Mill Pathway in the Pigeon River Country P.S. Lovejoy Memorial along the Shingle Mill Pathway in the Pigeon River Country
Many great hunter-conservationists and naturalists alike come to mind at the thought if this designated month. Theodore Roosevelt, Bernd Heinrich, Aldo Leopold, Daniel Boone, Edward Abbey, Sigurd F. Olson, Henry David Thoreau, P.S. Lovejoy are just a few of many that impact my perspective of both hunting and wildlife conservation. They come to mind because something as simple as attending or participating in one of these activities could be the spark that ignites the fire to follow a path towards being a leader in conservation for yourself or the next generation!
As for me, I have always had an interest in anything that crawls, swims, jumps, gallops, flies, or slithers. I have my parents to thank for immersing me in an outdoor-based lifestyle from the very start. I made every effort to contribute to what I had witnessed as the family Labrador showing his love and gratitude by bringing rabbits, birds, and squirrels to my parents. I often greeted my family members with "gifts" of minnows, big fish, frogs, salamanders, baby mice, chipmunks, and the occasional bird; but my gifts were still living and usually left unscathed. I was always so proud of my catch, using only my bare hands for most, and wanted to share my prizes with everyone before I released the wild things back to their natural habitat.
the 2015 Huron Pines AmeriCorps Members after our Signature Service Project the 2015 Huron Pines AmeriCorps Members after our Signature Service Project
I, among many other hunters, still carry this eager desire to learn about the way a wild thing lives; where and at what point of the day or night it feeds and sleeps, what it eats, what habitat it thrives in. This information is essential to a hunter but also to a conservationist. As a hunter, I enjoy everything that goes into the big picture of a hunt. A substantial part of that big picture is the wildlife's habitat; where they thrive. I am happy to be continuing on my path to a career and lifestyle in wildlife conservation through this service and the great opportunities that got me here.
I feel great about doing my part to get outdoors and give back to wildlife alongside volunteers from various backgrounds. MUCC's On the Ground (OTG) program will be planting trees with the Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation in the Pigeon River Country this Saturday, June 6th- see more details and sign up to volunteer here. Also, June 19th happens to be the month's National Day of Service and you can find OTG in the Pigeon River Country State Forest contributing more to Elk habitat. Don't miss out on opportunities to experience the great outdoors this month; we won't be!

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  • commented 2015-08-11 14:20:06 -0400