This spring, college students put in over 2,000 hours of volunteer work for BHA. Sitting strong with 35 active and emerging clubs, our students continue to fuel our mission at their universities and on their public lands and waters. In case you missed it, here's what they've been up to this spring.
Students complete stewardship projects on public lands through BHA's PLO Stewardship Fund
Castleton University, University of British Columbia Okanagan (UBCO), and the University of Wisconsin Stevens Point (UWSP) completed habitat improvement projects this spring as recipients of our Public Land Owner Stewardship grant program. Castleton spent the day with Vermont Fish & Wildlife and the National Wild Turkey Federation to improve turkey habitat through the planting of mast-bearing trees and shrubs. They also spent a day creating brush piles for the threatened five-lined skink. UWSP partnered with Ducks Unlimited and the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service to improve wetland habitat for waterfowl. UBCO helped address illegal mountain bike use in critical big game wintering habitat.
Hunting for Sustainability grows with three new learn-to-hunt turkey workshops
We hosted three new Hunting for Sustainability workshops through our clubs at the University of Minnesota, University of Wisconsin Stevens Point, and North Carolina State University. Nearly 40 students and new hunters participated in the programs learning everything from hunting ethics and conservation to scouting, field dressing and cooking. Two new hunters were even able to harvest their first turkey under the guidance of a mentor. All participants walked away with a BHA membership and we will continue to engage them in our public lands mission fostering a greater voice for the work ahead.
Students Attend BHA's North American Rendezvous in Missoula
Twenty-five students attended this year's Rendezvous to attend chapter leader training and network with other BHA leaders and industry professionals. Similar to years past, students put in time volunteering throughout the weekend to help make the event a success. Murray State University road-tripped all the way from Kentucky (and even took time to stop at different public lands checkpoints along the way!). The University of Wisconsin Stevens Point and Murray State clubs competed against eight other chapters in the Wild Game Cookoff. Murray State made Venison Backstrap with Bourbon Cream Sauce and Wild Turkey Pesto. Stevens Point kept them on their toes with Pan Seared Mallard with Maple Whiskey Sauce, Wild Rice, and Wild Ramps. University of British Columbia leader, Mateen Hessami, was presented BHA's Rachel L. Carson Award acknowledging his hard work on behalf of BHA and identifying him as an emerging leader in conservation.
Emerging Writers and Storytellers
On our blog and in the Backcountry Journal our students are making their voices heard through storytelling. They are speaking up about their backgrounds, hunting trips, and their experiences as a sportsman or woman working hard for a better world. Former University of Minnesota president, Alex Gorman, wrote about how he found hunting as an adult through his degree in Natural Resources. Mississippi State club founder and former president turned Virginia Tech graduate student wrote about the special relationship between hunter and hunting dog through a story about his dog, Pearl. University of Montana club president Nicole Bealer wrote about her journey from new hunter to mentor helping others find a connection to the outdoors through hunting.
Field Training with Hunters of Color
Students sat down with Lydia Parker of Hunters of Color for a one-hour field training session on how to more mindfully communicate and conduct outreach to successfully grow their clubs on campus. With inclusivity as one of our program pillars, we believe that the wider we cast our net, the more voices we have for conservation, and the more work we can get done both on the ground and in the halls of Congress.
The Greatest. (Club). Of. All. Time.
Each semester, clubs compete against each other in a point-based competition we've dubbed the G.O.A.T. Everything they do from service projects and meetings to social posts and blogs earn points. At the end of the semester, one club is named the official G.O.A.T. (for the semester though, not for all time...). So it comes as no surprise that the University of Wisconsin Stevens Point earned the title of G.O.A.T. for the spring semester. They led three work service projects, a fly-tying night, a fly fishing trip, a policy night, a learn-to-hunt turkey workshop, and hosted one of the program's biggest fundraisers to date, "Beer & Gear: A Night Out for Conservation," all in a single semester. If that doesn't impress you, just remember they are doing all this in addition to being full-time students and working part-time jobs. Who will take the title from them this fall?
Summer is down-time for the program as students head off to summer jobs or home to relax and unwind with family. However, things don't slow down completely. Students are still busy behind the scenes laying down groundwork for the fall semester. Here are some things to keep an eye out for this fall:
- Emerging clubs at Selkirk College, Arkansas Tech, Indiana State, Southeast Missouri State, California State University Fullerton, University of California San Diego, and Minnesota State College Southeast.
- BHA will host three Hunting for Sustainability workshops this fall focused on waterfowl, small game, and big game in Montana, Arizona, and Colorado
- Students will take action for the Grasslands Act this fall. You can too on our Take Action page HERE