Contact: Nick Buggia, Upper Midwestern States Manager
On January 28, the Michigan Wildlife Council hosted a ceremony at the Michigan History Center in Lansing to celebrate the unveiling of the new Michigan Wildlife Photo Mosaics exhibit. The one-of-a kind series of photo mosaics was commissioned by the Michigan Wildlife Council and crafted by the hands of over 10,000 people throughout 2019 to celebrate Michigan’s greatest fish and wildlife conservation success stories, and the role hunters and anglers played. The mosaics were made during visits to Detroit, Grand Rapids, East Lansing, Flint and Escanaba. During the ceremony, attendees heard presentations from members of the Michigan Wildlife Council; Michigan Department of Natural Resources Director, Daniel Eichinger; Michigan United Conservation Clubs Executive Director, Amy Trotter; State Rep. Leslie Love, D-Detroit, Co-Chair of the Michigan Legislative Sportsmen’s Caucus; State Rep. Julie Brixie, D-Meridian Township; Outdoor Radio Magazine’s Mike Avery; and leaders in Michigan’s hunting, fishing, conservation, business and tourism sectors.
The Mosaics were designed to celebrate a few of Michigan’s conservation success stories. “They literally became part of Michigan’s great wildlife conservation picture,” Rep. Brixie said. “This exhibit is really a tribute to everyone who joined forces to bring six of Michigan’s most treasured wildlife species back from the brink of extinction: Elk, lake sturgeon, peregrine falcon, wild turkey, Kirtland’s warbler and osprey,” said Director Eichinger.
The mosaics represent the latest project in the Council’s public education campaign that focuses on science-based conservation and professional wildlife management, including the importance of hunting and fishing. Also released on Tuesday were the results of a 2019 survey commissioned by the Michigan Wildlife Council to evaluate the effects of its public education campaign. These surveys reveal that more Michiganders than ever understand that hunting and fishing license sales pay for the conservation of the states’ waters, woods, and wildlife. The research also suggests a growing appreciation among the general public for the conservation and economic benefits that sportsmen and sportswomen generate for the state.
Specifically, the survey found that 73% of state residents correctly identify hunting and fishing licenses as the largest sources of funding for wildlife and fisheries management in Michigan. Additionally, the study found that 75% of residents agree that hunting and fishing license fees have a major or moderate benefit to Michigan. “We’re finding increasing recognition of the positive impact that hunting and fishing have on Michigan – which is exactly what the Michigan Wildlife Council was charged with accomplishing when it was created by the state Legislature in 2013,” said Matt Pedigo, Council Chairman.
The study also found that approval of hunting and fishing remains high across all geographic and demographic groups, with 86% of Michiganders approving of recreational fishing and 83% approving of legal, regulated hunting. The public also has a growing understanding of the statewide economic impact of hunting and fishing, estimated by the Michigan United Conservation Clubs at more than $11.2 billion annually. “Obviously, sportsmen and women play a major role in making Michigan a great place to live, work and recreate,” Trotter said.
This year’s educational efforts will also continue to emphasize that hunting and fishing licenses – not state taxes – fund the bulk of the wildlife conservation work that takes place statewide. “I applaud the council for the tremendous job it’s doing reaching out to people in Southeast Michigan and West Michigan to encourage greater participation and increase opportunities for engagement,” Rep. Love said.
Other attendees included Representative Triston Cole and a representative from Senator Jon Bumstead’s Office, both of whom are Co-Chairs of the Michigan Legislative Sportsmen’s Caucus.
Studies conducted at both the state and federal level have found that the number of hunters and trappers have been on a generally declining trend over the past several decades. To increase recruitment, retention, and reactivation (R3) of hunters and trappers, which initiative do you think would have the greatest impact?