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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Well folks the rally seemed like a hit. (at least in terms that a pretty good number of people turned out) Obviously we will have to give it some time until our collective efforts turn to reality, though I think the rally did something for morale. There was a lot of people to meet and learning to be done by all in attendance, I only wish I could have stuck around longer.
How many people came? The numbers aren't in to my knowledge, and I really can't be sure myself but I would venture a guess between 2000-5000. Maybe a little low and a little high, but it was hard to tell as some people were leaving when I came and I'm sure others did so while I was there. What delighted me the most was the number of kids there, as well as non-hunters. It's about time we started working together again!
There were great speeches from David Zentner the rally organizer, Bud Grant former Vikings football coach, Dan Young of DU, as well as a beautiful invocation by Father Mike Arms. That was not all though! There was plenty more to see and hear. However, sadly I could not see all of them.
Ducks Unlimited pledged $10 Million to restore and enhance 500 shallow water lakes in Minnesota over the next ten years. The total cost is estimated to be around $30 million for this endeavor.
While I am sure there is plenty more to add by others and msyelf, I will conclude with what else I do know. This rally, in the least has planted a seed of hope and hopefully put the fire into the bellies of old and new hunters alike. It is reported that around 400 people joined the Minnesota Waterfowl Association at the event. I haven't however, heard an estimate for DU or Delta Waterfowl, but I do know of at least two people who joined Delta. People seemed to have a good time, and were crowding the booths of the organizations to get information and likely some of the giveaways.

I hope this'll suffice for a report for now. Thanks to all who attended, organized and otherwise supported the rally!
-Ryan Laing
 

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Yes, it was great to see such a good turn out. Thanks to Dennis and all who were involved. JOB WELL DONE! OK, now for my RANT! I know that the invironmentalists were invited to participate. While I saw some booths from the Siera Club, Audobon, and a few others, I estimate that maybe about fifty or so environmentalists actually attended. I thought these people are supposed to be concerned for the planet. At least that is what they claim. I also saw one women walking through the crowd holding a protest sign saying "Single Payer Health Care Now!" What does that have to do with the price of coffee?
Yes, I agree that it would be nice to have some cooperation from the other side. I am not going to hold my breath. These are classic anti-hunters that we invited to our party. They will stab us in the back the first chance they get. Let them protest the WTO, "BUSH" ( That's President Bush" to you and me, or whatever else they want to protest. Maybe that will keep them out of the way while you and I get down to what we have always done. Getting something actually accomplished.
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
I don't believe it is easy to tell just who is an environmentalist by thier appearance (aside from them wearing gear supporting thier organizations). There could have been many more environmentalists you didn't see, or saw well because they too were sporting camo. I for one, consider myself a hunter and an environmentalist. After all, an environmentalist is defined as a someone who works to protect the environment from destruction or pollution. Thats what we were all working towards on April 2nd (unless of course it was single payer health care).
Joining hunters and environmentalists is something thats been needed for quite some time, and we may need to put quite a bit of effort into it. The end result will be worth it. In my opinion, some people may be a little wary of attending an event or direct action that is dominated by hunters. This is a shame, but something we need to try to change, and make sure that everyone feels welcome to come to the duck rallies and other conservation/hunting events in the future.
As far as the person championing single payer health care, some people will grab a sign and head for any crowd. I have seen this at many other events. Not much we can do about it, its a free country.
Thank you for coming out and showing your concern. Hang in there, it can't always be easy. And as Red Green says: "I'm pullin' for ya, we're all in this together."
 

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Dennis Anderson: Crowd Pleaser
Dennis Anderson, Star Tribune
April 3, 2005 ANDY0403

They came by bus from Willmar and Montevideo, New Ulm and Nicollet. Others arrived from Brainerd and Duluth, Alexandria and Rochester. Most were duck hunters, some were not. The common bond at Saturday's Ducks, Wetlands and Clean Water Rally was a passion for Minnesota's lakes and rivers, prairies and forests, and a desire to see them conserved.

Held on the Capitol mall beneath peerless blue skies, on a day that recalled not early April but late May, the rally joined, for the first time in Minnesota, hunters and other conservationists with environmentalists.

Highlights were many.

About 20 of the supporting groups exhibited, many signing up new members, including the Minnesota Waterfowl Association, which boosted its ranks by some 400 people. Money was raised to restore Lake Maria in Murray County through silent auctions of hunting trips, Labrador retrievers, wildlife art and other valuables. And at about 1 p.m. a platform full of speakers, beginning with a priest -- the Rev. Mike Arms of St. Patrick Catholic Church in Inver Grove Heights -- and ending with Gov. Tim Pawlenty, who alternately pleaded for, and promised, more and improved stewardship of the state's natural resources.

Don Young of Memphis, executive vice president of Ducks Unlimited, was among the first to speak, announcing, to cheers, that his organization was pledging $10 million this year to begin restoration of Minnesota's shallow lakes -- waters upon which the future of bluebills and other ducks depend.

Rally organizer Dave Zentner of Duluth followed, telling the crowd, estimated between 4,000 and 5,000, that the coalition behind the event "would not go away" and would continue to press for, among other goals, an ambitious Minnesota duck recovery plan.

Thousands gather at the Capitol mall.Jim GehrzStar TribuneCajoling legislators and demanding they begin work no later than Monday on a bill dedicating funding for natural-resource management, retired Vikings coach Bud Grant cited the gathering as yet another example of conservation leadership by Minnesotans.

And 21-year-old Dan Carroll of Park Rapids, a student at Michigan Tech who drove to St. Paul from Houghton, Mich., to speak at the rally, recalled eloquently how in his short life ducks and duck hunting, marshes and marsh life have enriched him.

As the event's master of ceremonies, I listened intently to these speakers and others, including 16-year-old Katie McCollor of White Bear Lake; Martha Brand, executive director of the Minnesota Center for Environmental Advocacy; organic dairy farmer Dave Minar of New Prague; Ray Hangge of Albert Lea, a co-founder of the Minnesota Waterfowl Association; Les Jones, executive director of that same group; and Mark Martel of Audubon Minnesota.

Also, by turns, at the podium were Senate Majority Leader Dean Johnson, DFL-Willmar, and Pawlenty, both of whom promised action on a swath of conservation legislation, including what the governor called "duck bills" intended to clean up Minnesota lakes and rivers; reorganize the Legislative Commission on Minnesota Resources; and place a constitutional amendment proposal on the 2006 ballot designating a percentage of the sales tax for conservation.

My impression: Minnesota is progressing, however incrementally, toward a brighter day in the way it cares for itself.

But my overwhelming thought from the stage as my eyes studied the crowd was how proud Minnesota can be that among its citizens it includes Lance Ness, John Schroers, Harvey Nelson, Tom Jes, Dan Fabian, Don Helmeke, Nicholas Sovell, Gary Leaf , Josh Holly, Kevin Proescholdt, Gordy Meyer, Rick Heilig, Kevin Auslund and Gary Fletcher, among many others who planned the rally.

Pawlenty noted at one point the rally "didn't just happen."

True indeed. At the expense of their free time, families and, perhaps, jobs, Ness, Schroers, Sovall and the others have lived, breathed, eaten, drank and slept the rally the past three months.

Time will tell whether Saturday in Minnesota ultimately is considered historic or just another day.

Either way, the successful gathering of so many people of like minds and good intent, and the promise of a better tomorrow, warrants celebration. Which for now is enough.

Dennis Anderson is at [email protected]
 

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Capitol rally draws water, waterfowl lovers of all kinds
Susan Feyder, Star Tribune
April 3, 2005 DUCKS0403

If anyone in the crowd at Saturday's Ducks, Wetlands and Clean Water rally had any doubts about Bud Grant's passion for changing the way Minnesota manages its natural resources, they surely dissolved with this declaration from the retired Vikings coach: Legislation for ongoing funding for conservation is more important than any bill to finance any new stadium in this state.

The remark, and others from hunters, anglers and environmentalists on the State Capitol mall in St. Paul, got a rousing cheer punctuated by duck calls from the crowd, many of them decked out in camouflage and blaze orange. Close to 4,000 people attended the event, according to Capitol security.

Don Young, executive vice president of Ducks Unlimited, said the rally was important because it brought a variety of interest groups together. Hunters and conservationists have a "natural partnership," he said. He also told the crowd that his organization has pledged $30 million, including $10 million this year, to help pay for an effort to clean up 500 shallow lakes in Minnesota.

Rally organizer Dave Zentner and other speakers praised the agreement by Gov. Tim Pawlenty and the Legislature on an $886 million bonding bill, which includes $23 million to help protect soil, water and habitat, $10 million for landfill cleanup and $27 million for floor hazard mitigation. "It's a good start," he said.

But more needs to be done to secure funding for long-term programs to restore wetlands, clean up water and protect wildlife and habitat, he and others said. Zentner and others said 40 percent of Minnesota's rivers and lakes tested for water quality have failed to meet standards established by the original Clean Water Act. The impact for fishing and hunting enthusiasts has been significant, they said.

Specifically, speakers called for passage of the proposed Clean Water Legacy Act, which would raise an estimated $80 million a year for water cleanup through an increase in the state's sewer fee.

Even more important, speakers said, is to place a constitutional amendment on the ballot in 2006 to allow a portion of the state's sales tax revenue to be channeled into natural-resource preservation. They also said an independent citizens' commission should oversee the state's department of conservation and have a say in how the funds from sales tax revenues are directed.

Pawlenty and Senate Majority Leader Dean Johnson, DFL-Willmar, told the crowd they support the measures. Pawlenty said he also continues to support the idea of restructuring the Legislative Commission on Minnesota Resources to improve how money currently collected from the State Lottery is spent on natural resources.

Susan Feyder is at [email protected].
 
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