DNR News: CO academy deadline, responsible forest use, cold-weather pet tips

Share or view as webpage  |  Update preferences

News Digest - Week of Feb. 22, 2021


Curious about challenges to forests? Read the Forest Health Highlights report.

Some of this week's stories may reflect the impact of COVID-19 and how the Michigan Department of Natural Resources has adapted to meet customers' needs and protect public health and safety. We will continue to share news and information about the best ways to enjoy our state's natural and cultural resources.

Follow our COVID-19 response page for FAQs and updates on access to facilities and programs. For public health guidelines and news, visit Michigan.gov/Coronavirus and CDC.gov/Coronavirus.

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 additional ones, are available in this folder.

Conservation officer academy applications close Friday

a woman in a swimsuit practices underwater rescue from a submerged vehicle while a SCUBA-clad instructor watches

If you or someone you know has been debating about applying for the upcoming conservation officer academy, don’t wait any longer! The DNR is accepting applications through Friday, Feb. 26. This is a unique opportunity to work outdoors while protecting Michigan’s natural resources and serving local communities.

A college degree or previous law enforcement training is not required for the job – recruits receive paid training for everything they need to know (like rescuing someone from a submerged vehicle, as shown in this photo from the 2018 CO academy). Once hired, conservation officers are full-time State of Michigan employees and receive biweekly paychecks.

To learn more about the hiring and application process, visit the conservation officer hiring webpage or contact a recruiter. For more on a CO’s daily duties and other details, visit Michigan.gov/ConservationOfficers.

Contact: Email F/Lt. Jason Wicklund at WicklundJ@Michigan.gov or contact a recruiter.

State forests earn certification for responsible management


Planting trees? Check! Cutting trees responsibly? Check! Working to make sure Michigan’s state forests are healthy and abundant for generations to come? Check that, too.

Michigan’s 3.9 million acres of state forest – which cover parts of the northern Lower Peninsula and the Upper Peninsula – have just been recertified as responsibly managed by two independent organizations.

“The whole point is to provide users and consumers with confidence that the forest-based products they buy and use come from responsibly managed sources,” said Keith Kintigh, forest conservation and certification specialist for the DNR’s Forest Resources Division. 

Michigan, certified in 2005, was one of the earliest states in the region to gain such distinction. It has been certified by the Sustainable Forestry Initiative® and the Forest Stewardship Council® every year since. Both groups set standards for such things as planting and harvesting practices, forest planning, and protecting rare and unique ecological and cultural features of the forest. 

“Michigan exceeded the standards in several important areas, including state forest recreation opportunities and employee training,” said Jeff Stampfly, chief of the Forest Resources Division. “We’re proud of these certifications, which assure that we are responsibly managing the forest for a variety of uses.” 

Forest certification confirms the quality of the DNR’s forest management practices and provides for tracking and labeling of wood-based forest products derived from Michigan state forests.      

The recertification audit was conducted in October and included reviews of work in Lansing and the state forest management units in Traverse City, Atlanta, Newberry and Escanaba. Audits included a field review of randomly selected timber sales, tree planting sites and recreation areas on state forest lands and all associated documentation. The Lansing audit included review of forest planning, training and human resources programs.

Questions concerning the DNR’s forest certification process? Contact Keith Kintigh at 989-619-2296.

Report shows economic value of wood products industry in Midwest, Northeast regions


A new report from the Northeast-Midwest State Foresters Alliance estimates the economic contributions to local economies in 20 states, including Michigan. 

The forest products industry includes forest managers, loggers, sawmills, furniture and solid-wood-product manufacturers, OSB (oriented strand board, a type of engineered wood) and composite board plants, as well as pulp and paper mills. These businesses directly provide 540,000 jobs and support more 1.4 million jobs in the Northeast and Midwest with total sales of $327 billion in 2017, the most recent year figures are available. 

The report is part of a three-year project involving 18 of 20 states in the Northeast and Midwest and includes data for each state. 

The top states in the region in terms of direct employment were Pennsylvania, Wisconsin, Indiana, Ohio, New York and Michigan, each with more than 40,000 jobs. Newly included in the report is the sap production portion of maple syrup industries, which account for about 6,200 jobs in the region. Michigan's maple syrup production is estimated at 170,000 gallons for the 2020 season.

Individual state reports are available for review. For more on the report and Michigan's forest products industry, contact David Neumann at 517-490-7640.

ICYMI: Tips to keep pets and animals safe and warm


With the recent snow and colder temperatures, it is critical that owners provide appropriate protection for pets and livestock. In case you missed it, the latest "Fresh from the Field" podcast from the Michigan Department of Agriculture and Rural Development offers important tips for keeping pets and animals safe when temperatures drop.

Listen to the “Pet & Animal Safety During Cold Weather” edition of the podcast series.

The “Fresh from the Field” series offers insights into some of the state’s hottest topics in food and agriculture, as well as other issues of interest to Michigan’s consumers and industry stakeholders. Find it on Anchor, Breaker, Google Podcast, Overcast, Pocket Casts, Radio Public, Spotify, Apple Podcast and YouTube.


Backyard science experiments, 60-Second Snake videos, virtual museum and hatchery tours and more, it's all a part of our Nature at Home web resources to keep learning fun for everyone.


Summer will be here before you know it –make a camping reservation in advance and make some memories to last a lifetime. That includes winter camping!


Looking for a way to give back while spending time in the outdoors? Check out the volunteer stewardship calendar to find opportunities to help at your favorite state parks.

Enjoy responsible recreation

Stay informed, stay safe: Mask up MichiganDNR COVID-19 response