Michigan Wildlife Council marks occasion with traveling exhibit, outdoor photo contest
LANSING, Mich. – To celebrate Michigan’s water, woods and wildlife and raise awareness about the important role hunting and fishing play in conservation, Gov. Gretchen Whitmer has proclaimed July as Michigan Wildlife Conservation Month.
And the Michigan Wildlife Council is highlighting the month with special activities to help connect more Michiganders with the outdoors and promote the efforts the state is making to ensure Michigan’s wildlife and natural resources are preserved for future generations.
“Michigan is recognized throughout the country as a leader in wildlife management,” said Michigan Wildlife Council Chair Nick Buggia. “But what many people don’t realize is that hunters and anglers really drive those activities. This is a great time to remind the public that hunting and fishing license sales — not taxes — are the primary source of funding for conservation.”
The council’s new “Conservation Takes Flight” exhibit will travel to three festivals this summer detailing four Michigan ecosystems and showcasing a species of bird that makes each its habitat.
Exhibit-goers will learn about the conservation activities that help keep the featured birds thriving in the state. Ecosystems and species to be featured are:
- Coniferous forest — Kirtland’s warbler
- Deciduous forest — American woodcock
- Grassland — pheasant
- Wetland — osprey
In addition, the Michigan Wildlife Council is sponsoring an outdoor photo contest to showcase the best of the state’s natural beauty. Participants can capture their special moment in Michigan’s scenic outdoors and submit it for a chance to win a $300 Visa gift card.
The online contest runs July 1-30. Submission details and information regarding contest rules are available at https://freep.secondstreetapp.com/Michigan-Wildlife-Council-Photo/rounds/1/gallery/.
“We are excited for the opportunity to engage with people this summer and reinforce that whether you hunt, fish or enjoy other activities like bird-watching, hiking, camping or kayaking, our outdoor spaces connect all of us and conservation is the common link,” said Buggia.
The declaration of July as “Michigan Wildlife Conservation Month” reflects that July 1 marks the 84th anniversary of the effective date for the Pittman-Robertson Federal Aid in Wildlife Restoration Act, which ensured hunting equipment purchases would fund wildlife management projects nationwide.
The declaration also coincides with the nine-year anniversary of the creation of the Michigan Wildlife Council, which is a bipartisan-approved panel tasked by the Legislature with conducting a public education campaign emphasizing the importance of wildlife management and the role hunting and fishing play in protecting and enhancing Michigan’s wildlife and natural resources.
Licenses purchased by anglers and hunters generated over $66 million for the Michigan Game and Fish Protection Fund in 2021. The fund is the DNR’s largest revenue source and is critical to its conservation work. The sale of hunting and fishing equipment raised an additional $32 million to support wildlife and natural resource management.
Buggia said that along with funding conservation, the money spent every year on hunting and fishing in Michigan provides huge economic benefits in every region 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 an estimated 171,000 jobs, making the combination of activities one of the state’s top 10 job-creation industries.