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B.1-1: Who Will Mind the Marsh? Participants, Professionals and Partners in the 21st Century.

Presented by John M. Eadie - Email: jmeadie@ucdavis.edu

Agriculture and protection of natural resources were paramount in the vision of the Morrill Act of 1862 and many of the nations top wildlife programs were hatched in those land-grant institutions. Our constitutional responsibility is to prepare our nations youth, and to open the doors to all to manage our resources wisely. Now, over 150 years later, we must ask have we kept that trust? The waterfowl profession faces challenging times. We have experienced record populations of ducks and geese, but declining numbers of hunters coupled with an increasingly urban population disconnected with nature. The 2012 NAWMP Revision and 2018 Update highlight these concerns and the need to engage a broader constituency. To date, much attention has focused on R3 efforts to enhance hunter Recruitment, Retention and Reactivation. Our planning must go beyond this to a broader framework we refer to as P3 Participants, Professional and Partners. Participants, of course, include hunters the original minders of the marsh and the most enduring source of support. But we must also increase engagement of a broader sector of society at a grass roots level to ensure that wetland and waterfowl remain priorities. Likewise, we have agonized over what to do and where to do it, but have we forgotten to ask WHO will do it? Our capacity to train the next generation of Professionals (managers, researchers and educators) approaches a tipping point with an aging constituency and the erosion of college waterfowl programs. Finally, we must consider retention of our Partners the NGOs, state and federal agencies, and the private sector who make many of the investments in wetland conservation. Will waterfowl remain a priority for these partners, and how will we recruit the next generation of private individuals willing to invest substantial funds in wetland restoration and enhancement? This Special Section is dedicated to a dialogue on these issues. In this talk, we develop the framework, outline the concerns, and point to some possible paths forward.
Session: Who Will Mind the Marsh? 2.0 (Tuesday, August 27, 13:20 to 15:00)