A host of conservation groups — and one local ammunition maker — celebrate landmark birthdays this year.
PHEASANTS FOREVER 30 YEARS
Incorporated 30 years ago today, Pheasants Forever has grown to become one of the nation's largest wildlife habitat organizations, with more than 130,000 members across all 50 states. The group's formal anniversary party will be at its National Pheasant Fest at the Minneapolis Convention Center in February. It is expected to draw more than 30,000 upland bird and habitat devotees.
MINNESOTA WATERFOWL ASSOCIATION 45 YEARS
Recognizing the accelerating loss of wetland habitat, a group of Minnesota duck hunters in 1967 formed what would become the Minnesota Waterfowl Association. Its motto, "Save the Game Lakes,'' stressed the importance of the state's 2,000 shallow lakes. In 1977, MWA led the charge for the state duck stamp that is now required of Minnesota duck and goose hunters. www.mnwaterfowl.com
DUCKS UNLIMITED 75 YEARS
Formed in the Dust Bowl days by hunters who worried about declining duck populations, Ducks Unlimited today is the world's leading wetland wildlife and wetland habitat advocate. Initially focusing on developing habitat mostly in Canada -- historically the birthplace of most North American ducks -- DU now also restores habitat across the U.S. Each year, Minnesota is at or near the top in DU members.
PITTMAN-ROBERTSON ACT 75 YEARS
On Sept. 2, 1937, President Franklin Roosevelt signed the Federal Aid in Wildlife Restoration Act, which since has been renamed the Pittman-Robertson Wildlife Restoration Act. It provides stable funding for wildlife management by taxing firearms, ammunition and archery equipment, and returning the funds to state agencies for conservation.
ISAAC WALTON LEAGUE 90 YEARS
One of the nation's oldest conservation groups, the "Ikes'' were named after the 17th century author of "The Compleat Angler.'' With chapters across Minnesota and the nation, the group takes on conservation projects large and small and has been highly active in the state nearly since its formation. Minnesota Ikes will hold a birthday bash Aug. 25 in St. Paul. (see story below, right). www.minnesotaikes.org
FEDERAL AMMUNITION 90 YEARS
Founded in Anoka in 1922 by Charles L. Horn, Federal Cartridge has long been a conservation advocate and partner to wildlife and conservation groups. As early as 1930 the company published cartoons encouraging people to protect wildlife. Federal was the first ammunition maker to color-code shotgun shells by gauge, and the first to make steel shot. www.federalpremium.com