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Minnesota Classroom Experience Gives OSGN VP Chance to Talk and Teach Conservation, Hunting, and Wildlife

Outdoor Sportsman Group Networks VP of Programming Mitch Petrie recently spent an hour teaching and talking conservation, wildlife, and hunting to a group of Minnesota kindergartners. (Photo courtesy of Mitch Petrie)

Each year, there's a lot of lip-service paid to the idea of 'growing the sport' in terms of conservation, wildlife, and hunting; one OSG executive recently took those words to heart

Most years, there’s usually plenty of talk about the idea of “growing the sport,” well-meaning conversations surrounding such annual events as the ATA Show, the SHOT Show, the NWTF Convention, and most recently, the Bassmaster Classic.

Outdoor Sportsman Group Networks VP of Programming Mitch Petrie recently took those words to heart, accepting an invitation to speak for an hour to 20 kindergartners at a suburban Minneapolis, Minnesota school.

How did he keep the attention of a group of energetic youngsters for 60 minutes? Simple – he gave a hands-on presentation about wildlife, hunting, and conservation!

“I knew I needed to give these kids a hands-on experience, so I showed up with deer, moose, and elk antlers; deer, coyote, and wolf pelts; deer and bear skulls; a turkey fan with a beard and spurs; and a giant black bear skin rug,” said Petrie.

In addition to giving the children some basic information about wildlife species commonly found in Minnesota, Petrie also brought along a few wild noise makers to help teach a few more lessons of the outdoors.

“I also brought along deer and turkey calls to show the kids how these animals communicated,” said Petrie. In addition to mouth calls for the species mentioned above, he also had a FOXPRO electronic game call that demonstrated the various vocalizations made by such other wild critters as elk, moose, coyotes, and wolves.

Petrie, who indicated that he was energized by the number of kids in the classroom who had a connection of some sort to hunting, noted that for others, just the opposite was true.

“For many of the kids, this was the first opportunity they’ve ever had to experience the sights and sounds we experience regularly in the field,” he said.

To help secure the sights and sounds of the day – not to mention the conservation lessons talked about – Petrie made sure that each child left with a turkey feather as well as a better understanding about how hunters promote and support conservation.

“It’s our responsibility as hunters to advocate for our sport and make sure future generations don’t lose sight of our deeply-rooted hunting traditions,” he said.

In the final analysis, it’s certainly debatable who had more fun - Mitch or the kids! But what is certain is that we as hunters, anglers, and outdoors enthusiasts must do our part to help educate and inspire the non-hunting and fishing public.

Which leads to a simple and yet profound question for outdoors enthusiasts to consider: “What are you doing to positively promote and grow our sport?”

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