DNR News: Rep the Kirtland's warbler, CO academy startup, NRC meets in Lansing

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News Digest: Week of July 11, 2022

A Kirtland's warbler sits on a branch, facing the camera with an open mouth in a somewhat comical expression.

"Support species like me with a Michigan wildlife habitat license plate!"

Here are just a few of this week's stories from the Michigan 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.

Photo ambassador snapshot: Lake Michigan's dazzling dusk

Black shadow outline of about a dozen people walking in line, one walking a dog, along the beach, backlit by a bright, increasingly orange sky

Want to see more pictures like this, taken by Michigan state parks photo ambassador Tim Largent at Holland State Park in Ottawa County? Visit  Instagram.com/MiStateParks to explore photos and learn more about the photo ambassadors! For more on the photo ambassador program, call Stephanie Yancer at 989-274-6182.

Conservation officer recruits' 23-week journey is underway

Conservation Officer recruits stand at attention in a line as a CO consults a clipboard.

Chosen from a pool of nearly 400 applicants, 15 recruits assembled Sunday in Lansing to start down the path to becoming Michigan DNR conservation officers. The group gathered for day one of Conservation Officer Recruit School #11, during which they received intensive training to test them academically, emotionally and physically.

Follow their 23-week experience by subscribing to the weekly conservation officer academy blog, which also will be shared on DNR social media accounts.

“We have high expectations for this group, all of whom bring diverse life experiences with them,” said Chief Dave Shaw, DNR Law Enforcement Division. “These new recruits will be immersed in the rich history and culture of DNR law enforcement, and they’ll receive instruction from the ‘best of the best’ — veteran conservation officers who excel in the many specialized areas that make conservation officers unique among the law enforcement community.”

Additionally, three certified police officers were also hired as DNR conservation officers. They were sworn in Tuesday and will begin their natural resources law enforcement training as probationary conservation officers.

While conservation officers' mission is to protect Michigan’s natural resources and the health and safety of the public through effective law enforcement and education, these certified peace officers also enforce all of Michigan’s criminal laws. (Yes, this means they can pull you over for a traffic violation.)

Because of their specialized training and equipment, conservation officers often are first to respond in situations such as medical emergencies, lost or missing persons and public safety threats in all types of weather conditions and environments. In addition to fish and game and general criminal law enforcement, recruits also get training in waterfowl, trapping, firearms, survival tactics, precision driving, off-road vehicle operation and maintenance, water safety, first aid, criminal law, report writing and alcohol enforcement.   

Those recruits who successfully complete the academy will join the ranks of Michigan’s conservation officers as part of the DNR Law Enforcement Division, the state’s oldest statewide law enforcement agency — now celebrating its 135th year.

Questions? Contact F/Lt. Jason Wicklund at 906-284-1933.

Support wildlife with Kirtland’s warbler license plate purchase

a white license with lettering that says Pure Michigan and Conserve Wildlife Habitat, image of a yellow bird on a pine twig at the left

Looking for a simple, yet powerful, way to help turtles, peregrine falcons, bats, common terns and other nongame wildlife species? Consider purchasing Michigan's wildlife habitat license plate, currently featuring the Kirtland’s warbler — a unique bird with a remarkable recovery story.

In 2019, the Kirtland’s warbler was removed from the endangered species list. Ongoing efforts by the DNR and a multitude of partners have ensured that ample habitat is, and will continue to be, available for this songbird that nests only in young jack pine stands in Michigan, Wisconsin and Ontario.

All proceeds from the sale of the wildlife habitat license plate support the Nongame Fish and Wildlife Trust Fund and benefit nongame species like the Kirtland’s warbler.

You can buy the wildlife habitat license plate through the Secretary of State for $35, with $25 of that fee going to the Nongame Fish and Wildlife Trust Fund. Since 2006, the fund has received more than $3.9 million from the purchase of wildlife habitat license plates.

Questions? Contact the DNR Wildlife Division at 517-284-9453.

Natural Resources Commission meets Thursday in Lansing

A handful of young Arctic Grayling tumble from a net into a pool of water.

The next meeting of the Michigan Natural Resources Committee leads off with a Fisheries Committee agenda that includes an overview of statewide fisheries research.

The meeting also will include an update on the printing of hunting and fishing digests, upcoming fisheries orders, a legislative update and several land transactions.

It will start at 9 a.m. Thursday, July 14, in West Campus Rooms M119-121 at Lansing Community College, 5708 Cornerstone Drive, in Lansing. See the draft meeting agenda at Michigan.gov/NRC.

For more information or to request time to speak at the meeting, contact Victoria Lischalk at 517-599-1067 or NRC@Michigan.gov.


The outdoors is for everyone, and the DNR is working hard to make the natural areas we manage easier for everyone to enjoy. Check out accessible recreation opportunities near you!


Summer's in full swing, and there's no better time to head out to a state park, boating access site or state forest campground — just make sure you have a Recreation Passport before you go.


Looking to get outside and do some good? Find stewardship opportunities near or far on the volunteer events calendar. Make sure to dress appropriately and stay hydrated.

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