ICYMI: Here's what BHA's Collegiate Program was up to this spring! From stewardship projects to policy engagement, fundraising to community-building, we are incredibly proud of the students and clubs who led the way this semester.
Five clubs completed stewardship projects on their local public lands and waters thanks to support from BHA's Public Land Owner Stewardship Fund. The University of Minnesota, Murray State University, Washington State University, University of Wisconsin Stevens Point, and North Carolina State University submitted project proposals last fall and were chosen as our 2022-2023 grant recipients. Through nest box builds, trash pack-outs, fishing and campouts, students got their hands dirty introducing their peers to public lands and waters through stewardship-based work this year.
"We had a great day talking about conservation, with likeminded individuals, and showing fresh faces the beauty and value of the great outdoors. From surprisingly large carp, to suckers to some rock bass, students got to see an eclectic mix of river fish life." - University of Minnesota on their PLO project
With a goal of getting students more involved in our advocacy work both at the state and federal levels, we piloted two programs this spring. In Montana, University of Montana club leaders Joe Graff and Claire McAtee joined BHA at the Capitol in Helena for a public lands rally, Capitol tour, floor sessions, and watched BHA provide testimony at a committee hearing.
Additionally, former University of Wisconsin Stevens Point club president, Harrison Stasik, accompanied BHA president and CEO Land Tawney on a trip to D.C. From fishing the Potomac to attending meetings on the Hill, we aimed to give Harrison a taste of our "field to floor" spirit and the important work to be done in both arenas.
"As an aspiring conservationist, the time I spent in Washington, D.C., with Land representing BHA was nothing less than monumental. This experience was not only educational; it will continue to inspire me to stand up for public lands and waters for many years to come." - Harrison Stasik
Experiences on public lands and waters drive the desire to advocate, which is why BHA continues to provide new outdoor experiences through hunting and fishing education. Turkeys were a popular subject this spring, with clubs hosting turkey workshops, speakers and seminars. The University of Idaho students even spent a night building box calls. The University of Wisconsin Stevens Point and the University of Minnesota hosted their second annual H4S turkey workshops after successful inaugural workshops in 2022. Murray State University hosted its first Hunting for Sustainability workshop this spring with support from the Kentucky chapter and club advisor, Dr. Whiteman.
Fundraising & Community Building
BHA clubs are steeped in community and bringing together likeminded individuals to form experiences on and connections to public lands and waters, and this semester was no exception. California State University Fullerton hosted a club camping and fishing trip, the Big Bear Trout Camp, complete with a meal of butter-fried trout. Clubs also worked hard to bring in funds that support the continued work of BHA and the Collegiate Program. The University of Wisconsin Stevens Point hosted its 2nd annual Gear & Beer Bash: A Night Out for Conservation in partnership with the Wisconsin Sharp-tail Grouse Society and raised over $10,000 for their club, sharp-tail grouse habitat and BHA's Collegiate Program. Washington State University hosted "Bears, Beer, and Brains," a trivia night fundraiser with support from local and national sponsors. Several clubs, including the University of Idaho, hosted end-of-semester wild game potlucks to bring everyone together one more time before summer break.
BHA hosted over 30 college students at this year's North American Rendezvous in Missoula, Montana, all of whom either lead or participate in a BHA club at their university. A jam-packed weekend, students competed in the Chapter Leader trap shoot, served guests at the Field to Table Dinner, brushed up on their leadership skills at the chapter leader training, competed in the wild game cook-off, represented the program at a vendor booth, met conservation heroes, and came together to celebrate public lands and waters with over 200 other BHA leaders and members.
“Rendezvous was an amazing experience and meeting other people who have the same conservation goal was rewarding. Having our home base in a wall tent was the best idea…and we are looking forward to next year.” - Jacob Young (University of Idaho club president)
Club leaders Nicole Bealer (University of Montana) and Rebekah Hellesto (Washington State University) were recognized as BHA's Members of the Month in March. Both Nicole and Rebekah graduated this semester, and their departure from our program is bittersweet. We have no doubt we'll continue to see their leadership within and in partnership with BHA, but will miss them at the helm of our clubs. The University of Wisconsin Stevens Point Club was recognized as Chapter of the Month in February for their hard work on the Gear & Beer Bash fundraiser.
It's impossible to capture all the hard work of our students in a single blog or email. If you're interested in keeping up with the hard work of our clubs and student members,
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