Minnesota Waterfowl Association dissolving effective Sept. 30
The 52-year-old Minnesota Waterfowl Association is closing its doors as an organization.
In a press release this week, the Minnesota Waterfowl Association’s Board of Directors said it has voted to dissolve the group effective Sept. 30, 2019.
“Times have changed in the waterfowl and conservation world, and the old duck men are fading into the sunset,” wrote MWA Board Chair John Schroers in the release. “Due to an aging and declining user base in waterfowl hunting and conservation, a trend has developed over the last decade or so which points to the reality of the time. Declining duck populations, duck stamp sales, access and declining membership are all indicators which contributed to this decision.”
MWA’s inability to recruit younger or newer members interested in conservation had contributed to the loss of membership and revenue. Minnesota duck stamp sales have declined significantly in the past 25 years after reaching nearing 140,000 in the late 1990s.
“MWA acknowledges and tips its hat to our founders, our members, our volunteers and our conservation partners,” Schroers wrote.
In discussions with Outdoor News staffers, Schroers said the board is investigating whether other groups or individuals might continue to manage MWA’s popular Woodie Camp, a summer camp for kids the group operated near Fergus Falls. MWA also held an annual spring Waterfowl Symposium that highlighted North America waterfowl research and management strategies, and it annually inducted state citizens into its Waterfowl Hall of Fame.
“I’m confident Woodie Camp will continue,” Schroers said Friday. “We’ll try to keep the Symposium going, maybe, via another group, and I’m looking for a home for the Hall of Fame.”
Brad Nylin, MWA executive director, confirmed that his last day with the organization was Aug. 15. He’d been with the group 17 years and became its executive director in 2007. A biologist and bookkeeper will remain with the organization until it officially shutters on Sept. 30, he said.
Schroers said that after years of declining membership and chapter activity, MWA was down to seven smaller chapters after losing two large chapters this year.
“It’s a sad, sorry situation. A harsh reality of the times,” Schroers said.
Lance Ness, a lifetime MWA member and former board member, called the announcement, “A sad day for conservation and waterfowl.”
Per the MWA website, the statewide nonprofit was “dedicated to the preservation, creation and restoration of wildlife habitat in Minnesota.”
In its early years, the group advocated for a Minnesota waterfowl stamp, which the state created in 1977.
Watch for more complete story later today on www.outdoornews.com and in next week’s print edition of Outdoor News.