Fun was had by all while learning about habitat and conservation at the Brainerd Lakes Earth Day Community Fair.
I was inspired by the passion and drive of everyone involved in Pheasants Forever, and I took this challenge to heart.
Photos by Kelly Humpfrey and Story by Destiny Mankowski, Minnesota Farm Bill Wildlife Biologist
I had been part of this organization for only three weeks when I attended my first state convention in February 2022. There I first heard CEO Howard Vincent speak. He put forth a challenge, for employees and chapters alike, to host an event in their communities around Earth Day weekend. I was inspired by the passion and drive of everyone involved in Pheasants Forever, and I took this challenge to heart.
Crow Wing Soil and Water Conservation District at the Earth Day Community Fair.
I wanted to create an event that would connect area youth and their families to local natural resource-based organizations, and I decided the most effective way was through fun games, crafts and activities. Thus, the idea for the Brainerd Lakes Earth Day Community Fair was born. I had an idea, a 3-month timeline, and a great deal of passion to bring it to fruition. Although I had never planned an event before, I hit the ground running as soon as I got back to my home office.
My dad always told me, “The worst anyone can say is no, but you never know who might say yes.” These words drove my efforts during the outreach phase of planning, where I reached out to 35 organizations to request partnership, and 31 organizations regarding sponsorship. To garner event publicity, I created flyers that went out to all the schools in the district, the event was posted on the Pheasants Forever website and local chapter Facebook page, and I interviewed with the local radio station.
Attendees enjoy a nature scavenger hunt during the Earth Day Community Fair.
The fair was a hit with the community, serving 75 local youth, with just over 200 attendees including adults. Upon arrival, each child received a reusable Earth Day themed goody bag. Some of the favorite activities were the pollinator seed bomb craft, the tree scavenger hunt, and the guided birding activity.
The event was even featured in the local paper. I have received many requests to make it an annual event, and I can’t wait to see what next year brings!
The event was sponsored by the Morrison Soil and Water Conservation District (SWCD), The Camp Ripley Sentinel Landscape Program, Oriental Trading Company, Patagonia, Minnesota DNR, Cub Foods and Pheasants Forever. The sponsors helped with funding, giveaways and prizes. Booths at the fair were hosted by the Central Lakes College Natural Resources program, Crow Wing SWCD, Brainerd Lakers United for the Environment, Backcountry Hunters and Anglers, Minnesota Backyard Birds and The North Country Chapter of Pheasants Forever.
By Destiny Mankowski a Minnesota Farm Bill Wildlife Biologist
This story originally appeared in the 2022 Fall Issue of the Pheasant Forever Journal. If you enjoyed it and would like to be the first to read more great upland content like this, become a member today!