I went to the Wetlands Rally at the Capitol yesterday. I was excited by the number of people who showed up. Mostly duck hunters but a few recognizable birders were there also. I don't have too much camo and it was too warm to wear Non Birding Bill's army jacket, so I bought a camo Wetlands Rally Cap. I carried my binoculars to identify myself as a birder though. You could tell everyone was really making an effort to work together. I was disappointed that more birders weren't there, I suppose some still aren't ready to work with hunters which I think is a small minded attitude to have when working together can really help solve our shrinking wetlands. I'm always amazed at how well hunters have their stuff together. I'm seriously considering getting a Ducks Unlimited Membership. Don Young, executive vice president for Ducks Unlimited, said his organization was pledging $10 million to spark a $30 million campaign to restore 500 shallow lakes in the state.
I learned that there are other organizations as well:
Coots Unlimited??? Who knew? I'm not sure if I want coots to be unlimited. Can they be trusted? I know for sure that they aren't good eating (and this is from someone who grew up in Indiana and isn't opposed to roadkill possum stew).
Though, I'm not a hunter I did enjoy the energy of the crowd and I did bond a little with someone who has bird tattoos like myself, those are really nice blue bills on his bicep!
Not real sure what the antlered bit in the middle is about, although I kinda like it. For some reason it makes me think of the Black Rabbit of Inle from Watership Down.
Governor Pawlenty was there and made some promises for money, but he didn't make clear on where the money was going to come from, so I think there's still more rallying to come. I know some birders didn't show because of their discomfort with hunting but I heard that some people weren't trusting hunters getting together with environmentalists because it was part of a secret leftist agenda to eliminate hunting. Weird.
The bottom line is that I think this rally is an important first step to a better future for Minnesota's Wetlands.