St. Paul — The Minnesota DNR recently honored two youths for their outstanding conservation efforts during a ceremony Sept. 1 at the Minnesota State Fair.
Tyler Egler, of Newport in Washington County, received the 4-H award, and Ethan Maras, of Morris in Stevens County, received the Future Farmers of America award.
The DNR Commissioner’s Youth Awards are given annually to a 4-H member and FFA student who have demonstrated initiative, leadership, creativity, and achievement in conservation and wise use of natural and agricultural resources. This is the 32nd year of the awards program.
Egler, a 4-H member, has always had an interest in amphibians and fish. Egler also participates in the 4-H Outdoor Wilderness Leadership and Service Program. These interests and experiences led Egler to develop a 4-H project about the Blanchard’s cricket frog.
The Blanchard’s cricket frog is Minnesota’s only state-endangered frog. To get started, Egler had to learn the specific sounds made by a Blanchard’s cricket frog and other frogs, as well as select suitable survey locations. Egler then used a mobile app provided by HerpMapper to record his survey findings.
Maras has an interest in waterfowl hunting and waterfowl habitat, so he jumped at the opportunity to work for Delta Waterfowl. Maras’ work focused on the annual maintenance of hen houses in a three-county area in west-central Minnesota. His responsibilities included recording nesting activities using an app-based map called “Quick Capture,” cleaning and re-stocking nesting materials, performing any repairs needed to the hen houses, and tracking his budget.
Maras’ work with Delta taught him about collecting data, tracking geographical locations, and keeping accurate financial records, as well as the importance of safety planning when working in remote field locations.