by Anna Mitterling, Wildlife Cooperative Coordinator, MUCC
The most valuable part of cooperatives is the collaboration that takes place among neighbors, friends and family. The same applies to a program to help support cooperatives – the most valuable part of this program is the network of partners that have come together to support a growing program. Of course without the funding partners, QDMA, PF and DNR, and the oversight and housing by MUCC, this program would not exist. In addition, what makes this program strong, what extends beyond the financial and management reaches, are the conversations, relationships, sweat equity, brain power and common vision shared among the multitude of amazing partners to the Michigan Wildlife Cooperatives program.
To the PF Chapters and QDMA Branches who fund this position, who have had me to meetings and banquets, who have sponsored or presented at cooperatives events, who have purchased tools to help this program be more successful – thank you. To the cooperative leaders who have spent countless hours reaching out to neighbors, working on your habitat, hulling your tractor around to plant on your neighbors and all the research on pheasant and deer management you have done – thank you. To the DNR staff who have helped think through new ideas, tools and resources, who have invested in me personally and provided amazing opportunities to learn and experience more about our Natural Resources – thank you. To the Farm Bill Biologists who have worked hard alongside me, planning events, creating tools for cooperative leaders, for advocating for the significant efforts of our cooperatives and for just being a fun group of people to work with – thank you.
When I look back at last year, I cannot help but think about the success of the Joint Partner Habitat Day. I was able to work with partners like the National Wild Turkey Federation, Ducks Unlimited, US Fish and Wildlife Service, in addition to DNR, MUCC, QDMA, PF, and the Farm Bill Biologists. This event was a testament to me the importance of coming together as a Conservation Community to provide educational opportunities for our Natural Resource Stewards.
As we get deeper into 2018 I look forward to some new partnerships. I have been working with the National Wildlife Federation to put together a pollinator habitat tracking program for cooperatives. We will unveil this designation program at another great joint partner project – a Pollinator Habitat Workshop Series that will take place around the entire Lower Peninsula. These local events will be hosted by Conservation Districts, QDMA Branches and PF Chapters with the support of MUCC, Farm Bill Biologists, DNR, NRCS, etc. I am looking forward to working with some new faces and working together to enhance more habitat in Michigan.
To improving habitat and hunting in Michigan! Cheers!