DNR News: 2018 turkey patch, fishing tourney info, urban forestry grants

View this as a webpage  |  Update preferences

News Digest - Week of Dec. 3, 2018

A bright red cardinal perched in the winter snow

Here's a look at some of this week's stories from the Department of Natural Resources:

See other news releases, Showcasing the DNR stories, photos and other resources at michigan.gov/dnrpressroom.

PHOTO FOLDER: Larger, higher-res versions of the images used below, and others, are available in this folder. 

Get the 2018 wild turkey patch now; 2020 patch design contest runs through Dec. 31

close-up view of 2018 Michigan wild turkey cooperator patch

The 2018 Michigan Wild Turkey Patch is available now to hunters, collectors and other turkey enthusiasts. It's free to hunters 16 and younger who had a 2018 wild turkey hunting license, but anyone can purchase the patch for just $5, postage and handling included.

The state’s wild turkey patch program is coordinated by the Michigan chapter of the National Wild Turkey Federation, in partnership with the DNR. Each year this chapter, working cooperatively with the DNR, contributes more than $200,000 to wild turkey and hunter-heritage programs in Michigan.

To receive a 2018 patch, send your name and complete address, along with a legible copy of the youth’s 2018 wild turkey hunting license or a payment, to National Wild Turkey Federation, Wild Turkey Patch Program, P.O. Box 8, Orleans, MI 48865. Questions can be emailed to michiganwildturkeypatch@yahoo.com.

Help design the 2020 wild turkey patch

K-12 students, here’s a chance to make your mark by submitting the winning design for the 2020 wild turkey patch! All entries must be received by Dec. 31, 2018.

Original, hand-completed designs should include an eastern wild turkey or components of a turkey (e.g., feathers, tracks). Drawings may be done in any medium (pencil, oil, pen and ink, chalk, crayon, etc.) and be color or black and white. If color, no more than 13 colors may be used. All entries must be submitted on 8.5-inch-by-11-inch paper, and submitted without mat, glass, frame or cover sheet (spray chalk with fixative).

Each patch design entry must include the following phrases or elements:

  • "Wild Turkey Management Cooperator"
  • "2020"
  • The DNR logo (or simply create a circular placeholder for the logo)
  • The web URL "mi.gov/turkey"

First-, second- and third-place winners will receive cash awards of $100, $50 and $25, respectively.

The winning design will serve as the basis for the 2020 Michigan Wild Turkey Management Cooperator Patch. Contest details and entry form are available at minwtf.org/patch-contest-rules/. Questions? Contact Hannah Schauer at 517-388-9678.

Enjoy a historic summer as a Tawas Point Lighthouse keeper

Volunteers in the Tawas Point Lighthouse keeper's program are trained to provide tours in the lighthouse and area's unique history.

Winter may have just begun, but it's the perfect time to start making summer travel plans. Looking for uncommon travel experiences? How about a two-week stay at the historic Tawas Point Lighthouse, located in Tawas Point State Park off Tawas Bay in Lake Huron?

Starting today, the Tawas Point Lighthouse Keeper Program will accept applications for volunteer keepers for May 1 through Oct. 29. Those selected – the program gets more than 100 applications a year – will get to live in the restored keeper’s quarters. Each participant pays a $75 per-person fee and provides roughly 35 hours of service each week in and around the historic lighthouse that attracts visitors from all over the world.

"The Tawas area is known as Michigan's Cape Cod," said Hillary Pine, Tawas Point Lighthouse historian. "It's a lovely area favored by bird-watchers, sailors, history enthusiasts and others. We make sure our volunteer lighthouse keepers have plenty of time to enjoy Lake Huron, Tawas Bay and other recreational

Volunteer lighthouse keepers stand in front of the Tawas Point Lighthouse

Keeper duties at this nationally accredited museum include greeting visitors, giving tours, sharing information about the lighthouse, and routine cleaning and maintenance. Lodging is in the second story of the keeper’s quarters attached to the lighthouse. Accommodations include two bedrooms that sleep up to four adults, a modern kitchen, bath and laundry. Keepers must commit to a two-week stay.

Pine said the program looks for teams of two, three or four adults – especially those with knowledge of lighthouse lore or Great Lakes maritime history, but that background is not required. Prospective keepers should be able to climb up and down the 85 lighthouse stairs and have excellent customer service and public speaking skills.

"We give our volunteer lighthouse keepers historical information and on-site orientation to help prepare them for their experience," Pine said. "They take great pride in helping to promote and preserve the lighthouse … and who wouldn't love waking up to a beautiful view of the bay every day?"

Applications will be accepted through Feb. 1. The application and additional information are available at michigan.gov/tawaslighthouse. For more information, email dnr-tawaskeepers@michigan.gov or contact Hillary Pine at 989-348-2537.

Fishing Tournament Information System expands to include muskie, walleye

Two men standing up on a boat, fishing on a lake, surrounded by mature green trees

Starting Jan. 1, all bass and walleye fishing tournaments, as well as competitive fishing events targeting muskellunge, must be registered in the DNR's Michigan Fishing Tournament Information System, available online. These events must report their results, too.

The inclusion of walleye and muskie adds to the statewide registration and reporting requirements for bass fishing tournaments that have been in place since 2016.

Tournament and event directors are required to register and report using the Fishing Tournament Information System. The DNR has worked the last 10 months to overhaul the system in order to accommodate the new requirements. That system now is operational and currently accepting 2019 registrations.

“This is an important step in gaining a better understanding of what competitive walleye and muskellunge fishing means to angling, conservation and Michigan’s economy,” said Tom Goniea, a fisheries biologist and the DNR’s tournament fishing specialist. “To date, the Fishing Tournament Information System has been a tremendous success, receiving more than 2,000 bass tournament registrations and reports. We expect a smooth transition to include a couple hundred annual walleye and muskellunge events.”

For more information, including definitions explaining the difference between a fishing tournament and a competitive fishing event, visit the system site at michigan.gov/fishingtournaments. Questions? Contact Tom Goneia at 517-284-5830.

Nearly $90,000 in grants awarded for urban and community forestry projects

long view of Grand Rapids, Michigan, skyline, with a green forested area in the foreground

Eleven urban forestry projects in seven Michigan counties will share $89,590 in community forestry funding administered by the DNR. 

The grants range from $250 for an Arbor Day celebration in Wayne County’s Sumpter Township to $20,000 each for tree inventories in Coldwater and Rochester Hills.

The competitive grant program – a cooperative effort between the DNR and the U.S. Forest Service – funds projects that help create and sustain local urban forestry programs. This year's grants will help facilitate better community forestry management through tree inventories and management planning activities. Other projects focus on Arbor Day celebrations and education and training projects.

“National studies report declining tree canopy cover in urban areas across the country," said Kevin Sayers, the DNR's Urban and Community Forestry program coordinator. "These projects will help Michigan communities to better manage and sustain these important public natural resources." 

The grants are federally funded through the U.S. Forest Service’s State and Private Forestry, Urban and Community Forestry program. Funds are available to local units of government, schools, tribal governments and nonprofit organizations. The grants require one-to-one matching funds toward projects performed on nonfederal, public lands or lands that are open to the public. Grant awards have been distributed for projects to be completed by Sept. 1, 2019.

The full list of grant recipients and other information about the program are available at michigan.gov/ucf. For more information, contact Kevin Sayers at 517-284-5898.

See the full list of 2019 Urban and Community Forestry Grant recipients here.

Great gift ideas for the outdoor lovers in your life

graphic promoting DNR holiday gift guide ideas

Chances are, everyone has a hunter, hiker or other outdoor fan on their holiday shopping list. If you're in need of some unique Michigan-themed gift ideas, check out the DNR's recent Michigan-inspired gift guide!

The guide includes a variety of goods – coffees, wines, T-shirts, glassware, prints, gift cards and other items – that all are tied to our beautiful Great Lakes State. Best of all, when you make a purchase from these partner businesses, you're also supporting investment in Michigan's great outdoors.


Bundle up and head to Culver's Frozen Custer Fat-Tire Bike Race (as a spectator or register as a rider) Dec. 15 at Fort Custer Recreation Area in Augusta. There are two races with seven different classes available. 


Archery deer season, ruffed grouse season, lots of Great Lakes and inland lake fishing, and more opportunities to hunt and fish this month! Check out our season and species guides and digests to make sure you have the info you need.


Help contain the spread of chronic wasting disease. If you're a deer hunter or know a deer hunter, encourage all hunters (especially those in key surveillance areas) to get their deer tested for CWD. Hunters' actions matter!

Was this email useful?