Conservation in challenging times
WILLMAR - Partnerships were the theme as Minnesota Ducks Unlimited gathered last weekend in Willmar for its 37th annual state convention. From the remarks of the new commissioner of the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources, Sarah Strommen, t...
WILLMAR - Partnerships were the theme as Minnesota Ducks Unlimited gathered last weekend in Willmar for its 37th annual state convention.
From the remarks of the new commissioner of the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources, Sarah Strommen, to informal conversations around the tables, the importance of partnerships to conservation was emphasized.
Placed center stage in that conversation was Scott Glup, Litchfield Wetland Management District project leader for the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service. Ducks Unlimited recognized Glup with its 2018 Minnesota Conservation Partner of the Year at the convention.
"Everyone who works with Scott gets re-invigorated,'' said Jon Schneider, DU's manager of Minnesota conservation programs when presenting the award. He cited Glup for his "passion for conservation."
That passion comes at a critical time. "Conserving our natural resources in these times is really challenging and we cannot do it unless all of us work together as a team. It takes a lot of partners to get that done,'' said Glup in accepting the award.
Glup has served with the US Fish and Wildlife Service for just over 31 years, the last 13 in Minnesota. His career includes work on six natural wildlife refuges in five state, including Kansas, Nebraska, South Dakota, North Dakota and Minnesota.
When he interviewed for his job in Minnesota, Glup's soon to be boss told him that the state was "absolutely fantastic" in the partnership opportunities that exist. "Boy was he right,'' said Glup. "It's been a ride. I love working in this state."
The importance of conservation work is only growing. Glup noted that we've lost 99 percent of our native prairie in the state and drained away 90 to 95 percent of the prairie pothole wetlands. He pointed out that the Dakotas have lost 3 million acres of native prairie since those heady days of just over a decade ago when corn topped $7 a bushel and soybeans hit $14 a bushel.
"They don't make that stuff anymore and we can't recreate it and it's gone,'' he said of the lost prairie lands.
Glup attributes much of his passion for conservation to being who he is.
"I was born that way," he told the Tribune.
It is a God-given attribute in his life. He said he is increasingly sharing his passion for conservation through his faith. He will be speaking about water quality to a gathering of Lutherans from throughout southwest Minnesota in Willmar on Feb. 23.
But make no mistake, much of his passion for conservation also owes to his opportunities as a youth to enjoy the outdoors and the parents who encouraged it.
Glup likes to say he grew up in a duck blind, and he's not really exaggerating. His childhood home was near the Missouri River near Tekamah, Nebraska, located north of Omaha. His father, Ernie, was an earth-moving contractor, who also trapped, netted fish commercially, and took his sons fishing and hunting at every opportunity. His father also developed a commercial duck hunting business.
Even before the business venture, Glup said he recalls late season shoots with his father when the Missouri River was running full of ice. They'd stack decoys in an old, flat bottomed boat and make their way to a backwater. They'd climb up a bank and hide in the brush. Charcoal burning in a coffee can kept their hands warm.
Glup said his mother, Noretta, was every bit as encouraging when it came to the outdoors. Glup said he'd join her when she picked wild berries. She never tired of the wildlife he brought home from his own adventures.
Today, he credits his wife, Kristi, and family for their willingness to accommodate his passion for conservation. He noted that much of his work can occur outside of normal hours.
He also devotes many of his hours outside of work introducing young people to the outdoors. He's a long-time volunteer with the Boy Scouts, and takes scouts on hiking and canoeing adventures in wilderness locations around the country.
"It's great to work in Minnesota with all the partners,'' Glup told the audience at the state convention. He noted the benefits Minnesota enjoys thanks to the Outdoor Heritage Act and its funding for conservation. "Lot of challenges out there,'' he said. "We need to keep up the good work.''