Minnesota Trappers Association
Education Coordinator's Report
First of all, I'd like to personally thank Cat for her service as our Newsletter editor. Jumping into an unfamiliar landscape like the trapping world was certainly not without challenges. We've all grown as a result of assisting in your development as an editor. We all wish you the best in your future pursuits.
Trapper Education in a Depressed Fur Market
Trappers, I encourage any with an interest to consider hosting classes/field training sessions this spring and fall. Beaver populations have steadily increased in direct response to a poor market and subsequently, damage control trapping becomes necessary to help mitigate property damage. Opportunities for landowners to become certified to trap are all the more important today as economic incentives for fur trappers decline. Several new instructors have stepped forward to join the ranks as educators in their communities and thankfully, prospective trappers are taking advantage of the certification opportunities they offer.
Information on becoming a certified instructor is on our website and as always, I'm available to speak with anyone directly who has additional questions on the process. With economic returns being what they currently are, this is a great time to consider having a few fur hats, a blanket or other fur articles made during such a depressed market. Now is an ideal time for new trappers to hone their skills in anticipation of a recovering market down the line. I along with several Duluth area instructors will be hosting our annual spring field training session near the end of March/ beginning of April anticipating open water for demonstration purposes. Information will be published on our website when details are finalized.
Public Outreach Opportunities?
I accepted the invitation to give a trapping presentation to highschoolers at Vermilion Country School outside Tower this winter and I'd like to thank Al White as well as the other teachers, the school administration and most of all, the students for giving me the opportunity to share. My tanned fur collection, raccoon coat, and fur hats were very popular attractions. Requests for trapping presentations filter in at all times throughout the year but unfortunately, I can't always accommodate all requests. The vast majority are made by elementary school teachers in all areas of the State that are covering the historical fur trade in Minnesota as part of the standard curriculum for public schools.
Since this subject matter is taught each year the ideal situation would be to have individual trappers "adopt" local schools in providing these presentions annually. Presentations generally span for a half-hour to forty-five minutes per class in most cases although some may wish that if practical, you make yourself available for multiple class sessions. Familiarity with the historical fur trade contrasted with the modern fur trade of today coupled with some tanned pelts and/or fur products makes for an engaging presentation. Occasionally presenters are sought to address an entire school body (in an assembly fashion) but these are far less commonly requested. High school age Biology related and Environmental Education instructors are frequently seeking such presentations on an annual basis.
Outdoor sporting groups also commonly request our trappers give presentations and discuss issues of mutual interest at meeting/banquet type settings within their respective organizations. There is certainly no lack of interest out there- the daunting task is recruiting willing trappers to accommodate the demand. Consequently, I'm always looking to include other MTA members in these rich and bridge-building educational opportunities. If you have time and a desire to volunteer in outreach, please contact me. I assure you that serving as a representative of the trapping community will be personally rewarding and graciously welcomed and appreciated. With modern fur trapping being so commonly misrepresented and misunderstood, these outreach opportunities are vitally important in fostering mutual respect and understanding.
MTA will provide brochures and other materials that will assist in guiding your presentation and Q and A sessions as well as reimbursing reasonable expenses incurred by trappers willing to serve. I'm putting together a list anticipating this year's requests across the State. Let me know if you're interested in participating in the Association's efforts in these areas.
I'd like to remind the membership that college scholarships will be offered again this year for those that are furthering their education. Scholarship amounts and numbers are yet to be determined by the Board but will be announced when decided. Scholarship applications will only be accepted between June 20 and July 1st and should be provided to MTA Secretary during that time frame. Information on the application process is provided on the website as well.
Have a safe spring and enjoy the natural world.
Keep your skinning knives sharp,