Brookings Wildlife Federation celebrates 43rd year as it prepares to host state convention

TOP: The Brookings Wildlife Federation contributed funds to help the Brookings Conservation District purchase a grass drill for seeding native prairie grasses and pollinator plots at the Dakota Nature Park. BOTTOM: Brookings Wildlife Federation members Rich Widman, left, and Dennis Micko receive a check for the Chuck McMullen Memorial Fund for youth education. (Courtesy photos)

BROOKINGS — The Brookings Wildlife Federation has been selected to host the annual convention of the South Dakota Wildlife Federation Aug. 4-6. The local organization is one of 17 affiliate groups statewide that make up the 3,000-plus member South Dakota Wildlife Federation.

Current BWF President Bob Kurtz received the 2021 Conservation Educator of the Year Award from the state group. Kurtz and the BWF board of directors, Dan Hubbard, Dennis Micko, Terry Wieczorek, Spencer Vaa, Lawrence Novotny, Chuck Berry and Rich Widman are leading the convention planning.

Dignitaries from the National Wildlife Federation, GFP Department, and people from across the state will attend to discuss conservation topics and hear about fish and wildlife research at South Dakota State University. They will also discuss legislative issues and what needs to be done to protect South Dakota’s outdoors for all.

The convention starts with a Friday night burger/brat feed at the Brookings Gun Club, morning meeting and then speakers Saturday — with a prime rib banquet/awards/auction that night, and concluding with Sunday’s business meeting. All are invited. For more information, contact Convention Chair Rich Widman, 605-690-0354.

The 100-plus member BWF is in its 43rd year of providing public information and education about natural resource conservation and outdoor activities to the Brookings community. For example, the recent youth fishing event, Trout Extravaganza, was started by the BWF some 30 years ago. Other events include Kids in the Outdoors, Women in the Outdoors, and sending students for one week to the Custer SDWF Conservation Camp. All are provided free of charge.

The BWF has given awards to many local conservationists, funded educational materials for Brookings schools, and sponsored a student award at SDSU. The BWF members have served on advisory committees on Brookings parks, provided small grants for conservation, and held workshops on outdoor activities. BWF members have held offices at the state and national levels of the National Wildlife Federation.

The group holds a monthly infolunch that is open to the public the first Friday of each month (except July) at the Brookings County Outdoor Adventure Center.

Infolunch speakers cover a wide variety of topics from state fish and wildlife legislation and management to research at SDSU. Members also share photos and reports of hunting and fishing adventures from Alaska to Africa.

The group is currently holding a membership drive through a raffle with over $12,000 in prizes. Numerous local businesses are partnering with the BWF to make the August convention a success. For more information contact President Bob Kurtz, 605- 695-1361, or Convention Chair Rich Widman, 605-690-0354.