Mother Nature's Helping Hands

Posted on February 6, 2012

What would life be like now if Duck's Unlimited was never created with all the group has done for wildlife and the wetlands? Today doesn't seem so bad when looking back at the drought and terrible financial crisis of 1937. Seventy-five years ago a group of men gathered to discuss their love for waterfowl hunting, and the sight of a declining duck population to compile a plan. Ducks Unlimited's success started with its core structure and it has remained consistent throughout the years. The foundation for success has been based on volunteerism, partnerships, and science-based decision-making using a sound business plan. I meet people in this industry every day who have extreme passion about outdoor life and hunting. There are many people in the industry who talk about how important it is to pass on the hunting tradition to others, but there are very few people who actually do something about it. It's not the name of the organization that makes it great, it's the hard working members who stand behind it. It's uplifting to know there are still people in this busy world who are willing to give their time to get others to see the big picture.

While many college students spend most of their energy balancing books and beer, Justin Morrissey has another plan. Morrissey, sophomore at UW-River Falls (UW-RF), is double-majoring in marketing communications and field biology. He founded the first Ducks Unlimited Chapter at UW-RF last year and has been very successful so far by signing up 120 members. If that wasn't enough, he is also part of the pro staff and an intern with POMA (Professional Outdoor Media Association). I found out from another POMA member that Morrisey is also an amazing wildlife photographer; Morrissey was too humble to point that out himself. "That all keeps me pretty busy, but I still find plenty of time to get out in the woods," said Morrissey. In order for the college to allow him to start a DU chapter in the UW-RF name, he had to educate the educators. "I had to get them to understand the big picture; DU is into conservation and restoring wetlands, not just hunting. It was a lot of work, but we are growing like crazy and are starting to attract city kids who have never even picked up a gun before," said Morrissey. With the success of the DU chapter, his future goals include getting a shooting team started and possibly some other good programs through other conservation organizations.

Thankfully there are still great people who use their free time to help develop successful programs to help preserve, conserve and protect wetlands. A good friend once told me a rich man can donate all of the money in the world, but when someone donates his time, that is worth much more. I think Joseph Knapp would be mighty proud to hear about the good people who are following in his footsteps.


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