WILLMAR -- In the habitat conservation world, Matt Holland has done a lot.
The former regional biologist and current senior field director for Pheasants Forever isn't just about pheasants, however.
That was obvious when Ducks Unlimited recognized Holland with the Professional of the Year award at its state banquet Monday in Brainerd.
"It's a big honor to be recognized by an organization like Ducks Unlimited," Holland said. "They have a strong tradition in Minnesota. It speaks to the partnerships we have in this state to improve the habitats of ducks and pheasants."
His work with the Habitat Conservation Partnership is almost an extension of his work with Pheasants Forever. He has helped secure funding from the Minnesota Environment and Natural Resources Trust Fund through the Legislative-Citizen Commission on Minnesota Resources for habitat projects over the last five years.
"The Habitat Conservation Partnership is a partnership of 18 different conservation group focused on building functional habitats and build on existing investments," Holland said. "We look at where we have WMAs and build on those and on private lands. These are lottery dollars coming to this partnership to fund habitat restoration, easement and fee-title acquisition.
"When folks ask where the lottery dollars go, some of them come here and go to these projects."
Holland also said working with other conservation groups makes his job more enjoyable.
"I get the pleasure of working with other great organizations with the goal of keeping our natural resources. It's a very rewarding piece of my job," he said.
Also at the state DU banquet, the LCCMR was named Partner of the Year in recognition of all the work that goes into distributing Trust Fund dollars.