BHA welcomes new club presidents as we look forward to a truly unique semester. As if taking over an entire club isn't looming enough, navigating outreach and engagement in a semi-virtual world will pose novel challenges. These student leaders have stepped up to the challenge.
Madeline Damon - University of Montana
I am a senior studying wildlife biology and nonprofit administration at the University of Montana. I have been involved with the University of Montana Chapter of Backcountry Hunters & Anglers since I was a freshman. I grew up bowhunting and fishing in Wisconsin and was excited to explore a new landscape in Montana when I moved here for college. However, hunting and fishing out West became pretty intimidating considering I hadn't hunted outside of a treestand in my six year hunting career. BHA taught me what public lands are, how to access them, and how to hunt outside of my cozy treestand (I never realized people ever hiked to hunt). Club leaders connected me with experienced mentors who were excited and always open to lend a helping hand. Being a member of the UM Backcountry Hunters & Anglers has been a huge part of my college experience, and I am looking forward to being president my senior year because I want to give back to BHA by providing support and mentorship opportunities to as many students as I can.
Alex Gorman - University of Minnesota
I recently moved to Minnesota from Northern California, where I was working as a naturalist in the Sierra Nevada, to pursue a graduate degree in the Natural Resources Science & Management Program at the University of Minnesota. I grew up in Northern California near Yosemite National Park and spent a majority of my free time exploring California's public lands. I went to Humboldt State University on California's Redwood Coast where I earned my B.S. in Forestry in 2018. After graduation I worked as a reforestation technician leading burn, planting, and vegetation management crews. I am an avid forager of wild mushrooms and love spending time in the woods looking for all types of fungus! I have been an on-again-off-again angler for most of my life, fishing for trout in the rivers and lakes of the Sierra Nevada. I took up a serious interest in hunting in 2018 and have a Wyoming whitetail hunt planned later this year. I am excited to explore the abundant hunting and fishing opportunities Minnesota has to offer and meet some wonderful people along the way. We are cooking up a lot of exciting plans for the fall! From advocating for Minnesota's Boundary Water Wilderness to holding a Wild Game Bingo Competition, this semester will surely be an eventful one here at the University of Minnesota!
Shannon Wilkey - University of Idaho
Hello, my name is Shannon Wilkey, and I am a senior attending the University of Idaho in Moscow. I am majoring in wildlife resources with a certificate in restoration ecology. Originally I am from Rexburg, Idaho, and am the youngest in my family. Growing up I always had a love for the outdoors, camping, or hiking with my family. Being close to places where it is easy to get away from the everyday noise of life greatly influenced my decision to further pursue my education at U of I. Coming to college, I wasn't expecting to find a club like BHA that welcomes any person who has a wish to use public lands and keep them safe for generations to come, as well as encouraging newcomers to get outdoors and enjoy the beautiful places that are all around us. As I take over the role of the president in my club, I hope to create a space where people can come without any constraints from the crazy world we live in right now and be able to take a breather in our amazing public lands.