By Carol Stiffler and Kristie Sitar
The Newberry office of the Michigan Department of Natural Resources has a few questions for local youth: What do you like to do outside? And how can the DNR help?
To get feedback from some of the U.P.’s younger outdoorsmen and women, wildlife biologist Kristie Sitar and wildlife technician Jayne Roohr have launched their department’s second Youth in the Outdoors Survey. Youth can complete the survey between now and January 6. Surveys can be found online at bit.ly/DNRYouthSurvey (case sensitive), or on paper (look for the insert in this issue – local edition only). Paper copies of the survey are also available at the Newberry DNR Customer Service Center, Naubinway DNR office, Newberry News, Ace Hardware, Duke’s Sport Shop, S&J Sports, Renze Power Sports, Mark’s Rod & Reel, and the Hiawatha Sportsman’s Club.
Return paper copies of the survey to the Newberry DNR Customer Service Center (in person, via mail or email), or fill it out and submit it online. In addition to surveys, youth can email a photo of themselves enjoying their favorite outdoor activity to firstname.lastname@example.org to be featured in the Newberry News.
The first Youth in the Outdoors survey occurred in the fall of 2021. In the 2021 survey, about a third of the results showed the youth were interested in learning more about hunting, about a quarter were interested in learning about trapping. Others were interested in hiking, camping, fishing, snowshoeing, and shooting. A fair number of youth were also interested in workshops, mentoring opportunities, volunteer opportunities, and finding out where to do their favorite or new activity.
As a direct result of the 2021 survey, the DNR staff intends to offer a trapping workshop for youth in the fall of 2023 in the local area. It will be open to all interested youth.
“We will be reaching out to youth to share tips on where to go for their favorite outdoor activities and trying to establish some mentoring opportunities,” Sitar said.
Sitar said her department hopes to continue offering this survey in upcoming years to continue to learn how local youth like to spend time outside, and will integrate responses into future programs.
Get outside doing what you love, and share your favorite activities with the DNR!