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Michigan DNR marks 100th birthday and counting

Celebrating 100 years of existence — a centennial, to use a fancier term — is a noteworthy hallmark for many organizations and agencies, assuming they get that far.

The Michigan Department of Natural Resources is one of those organizations.

The original Michigan Department of Conservation was created on March 30, 1921, through legislative executive action. To note its broadening scope, the organization became known as the DNR in 1968.

All state agencies have a lot to oversee, but consider natural resources — they’re everywhere. Air, water, forests, grasslands, fish and wildlife are everywhere around you.

And also consider the state of Michigan. It’s a bit of an oddity geographically, with two peninsulas surrounded by Great Lakes and landscapes that range from the heavily urban Detroit area to the remote western Upper Peninsula.

That diversity creates a challenge for its resource management, but the DNR has what we believe to be a plethora of employees who care deeply about the environment.

The DNR just released excerpts from an interview earlier this month on the program “Naturally Speaking” on WGVU-FM in Grand Rapids in which DNR Director Dan Eichinger discussed the importance of significant wildlife species recoveries achieved in Michigan.

Some of these species that have attained recovered status include the Kirtland’s warbler, bald eagle, gray wolf and wild turkey.

“These are really important milestones because it’s sort of proof-positive that when you have the alignment of resources, the alignment of talent and the alignment of partnership, we can be successful in recovering species that were critically endangered and that is not only providing a regulatory framework to provide for their long-term conservation, but actually doing the really hard work on the ground, making sure that those habitats are conserved and that they’re restored,” Eichinger told program host Shelly Irwin.

People might not agree with all of the DNR’s actions, such as hunting seasons and quotas and the like. However, considering people’s background and, again, the diversity of Michigan’s landscapes, natural resources management can’t please everybody.

Individuals can note the DNR centennial on their own, through identifying native Michigan birds, trying archery, photographing insects and picking blueberries.

While the DNR performs its due diligence managing natural resources, people can play their part in conservation as well throughout each year.

Buy a fishing license, go hunting, pick up trash — the options are many.

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