Traveling exhibit and photo contest highlighting “Michigan Wildlife Conservation Month”

METRO DETROIT – July is Wildlife Conservation Month in Michigan, and the Michigan Wildlife Council is celebrating by hosting a few special activities for public enjoyment.

The council’s new exhibit “Conservation Takes Flight” – which details four Michigan ecosystems, showcasing a different species of bird that makes each its home – debuted at the Detroit Kite Festival in Belle Isle on July 10. It will be exhibited at two other festivals this summer, including the Stony Creek Metropark Art Fair on July 23-24 and the Belle Isle Art Fair on August 6-7.

According to organizers, visitors to the exhibit will learn about conservation activities that help birds on display in the state thrive, including the coniferous forest Kirtland’s warbler, hardwood forest American woodcock, prairie pheasant and wetland osprey.

Mark Loeb of Integrity Shows, which organizes the Stony Creek Metropark Art Fair, said much of the focus of the art fair – including the Conservation Takes Flight exhibit – is the intersection between the art and nature.

“This exposure and effort seems like a natural fit,” he said in an email. “We want people to go out to enjoy the beauty and take home memories and works of art that will help them maintain the joy throughout the year.”

Michigan Wildlife Council President Nick Buggia said the exhibit was an opportunity to talk about birds, like the osprey, their unique habitat needs and the Michigan Wildlife Council’s success in bringing osprey, bald eagles and other birds back to Michigan.

“We’re just trying to tell the story of how hunters and anglers have helped some of these bird populations come back or grow in Michigan,” Buggia said. “20 or 30 years ago you might not see them often, but now it’s not uncommon to go to Belle Isle or drive down the road and see an osprey or a bald eagle. white head…and people see them because of conservation efforts funded by hunting and fishing licenses.

Hunting and fishing play an important role in conservation, Buggia explained.

“A lot of people don’t understand that the vast majority of conservation funding, not just in Michigan but across the country, is funded through the sale of hunting and fishing licenses,” he said. “There’s kind of a misconception there, and sometimes hunters or fishers can be labeled as the bad guys, but in reality they’re helping to manage the different wildlife populations so that they’re sustainable, that there is enough food on the landscape for all the different species, and to help prevent disease and things like that.

Selling hunting and fishing licenses, Buggia added, not only helps fund the conservation of game species, but also non-game species like butterflies, bees and other pollinators; ospreys; the Kirtland warbler; and many other animals.

July 1 marked the 84th anniversary of the effective date of the Pittman-Robertson Federal Wildlife Restoration Assistance Act, which ensured that purchases of hunting equipment would fund wildlife management projects. national wildlife.

State officials say licenses purchased by anglers and hunters generated more than $66 million for the Michigan Game and Fish Protection Fund in 2021, which is the DNR’s largest source of revenue and is critical to his conservation work. The sale of hunting and fishing equipment raised an additional $32 million to support wildlife and natural resource management.

In addition to funding conservation, Buggia said, the money spent annually on hunting and fishing in Michigan provides enormous economic benefits to all regions of the state. According to a 2019 study released by the Michigan United Conservation Clubs in partnership with Michigan State University, hunting and fishing have a combined $11.2 billion economic impact on Michigan and provide approximately 171,000 jobs, making combination of activities one of the top 10 jobs in the state. -creative industries.

The Michigan Wildlife Council is also sponsoring an outdoor photo contest this month to showcase the best of the state’s natural beauty.

“We’re just trying to encourage people – whether they’re walking the RiverWalk in Detroit or in an outdoor park – to take a picture and send it in to share with everyone what they’re up to. like to do outside,” Buggia said. .

Entrants can capture their special moment in scenic Michigan and submit it for a chance to win a $300 Visa gift card. The online contest runs through July 30, and submission details and contest rules information can be found at https://freep.secondstreetapp.com/Michigan-Wildlife-Council-Photo/rounds/1/ gallery.

The council, according to Buggia, is delighted to have the opportunity to engage with people this summer and to emphasize that whether you hunt, fish or engage in other activities like bird watching, hiking, camping or kayaking, the state’s outdoor spaces connect everyone, and conservation is the common thread.

For more information about the Michigan Wildlife Council, visit www.HereForMiOutdoors.org.

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