Chicago Sun-Times
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Conservation Congress: Funding, funding, funding

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SPRINGFIELD, Ill.--The bottom line in Illinois outdoors is the bottom line.

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As great an issue as outdoor access is, funding tops it as a priority. That was one thing to come out of the weekend gathering of the restarted Conservation Congress in Illinois.

As facilitator Susan Parks and organizer Deb Stone reviewed the final results of the gathering, it was obvious funding was the top concern with three funding issues (behind Parks) easily ranking as the top concerns among the most people.

The eclectic group from parks sorts to hard-core shooting sports advocates certainly came together on the need for funding.

And for access.

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IDNR director Marc Miller, who restarted Conservation Congress, gives the farewell benediction/summary Sunday noon against the backdrop of discussion points on public access.

As varied as the group was, and it was, they were very excited to be gathering again after the six-year layoff of Conservation Congress under disgraced and gone Gov. Blagojevich.

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As together as the participants were on the two key issues--access and funding--there is still some room for concern.

And it comes from language, namely consumptive and non-consumptive. That is coming and, I dare say, growing great divide in the outdoors.

Language matters, even in these days of tweets and twits.

I have more mulling to do on non-consumptive and consumptive.

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1 Comment

I feel the whole premise of renewing the Conservation Congress speaks to the fact that Marc Miller is who we thought he was.
Marc has repeatedly stated that he would like to restore the trust, and this is unequivocally a step in that direction. Anybody that spent the entire weekend at this program can relate to the renewed focus of a decimated agency, thanks to the current administration. I have never seen so many dedicated professionals and volunteers from the realm of conservation so invigorated and excited to start fresh on solving the problems we are currently faced with as our natural resources are concerned.

I do have one issue with the way it was organized, however.
With such a diverse conglomerate of stakeholders present, I would have liked to have seen a quick "introduce yourself" type aspect at the start.
To have each person stand up, give thair name and affiliation would have taken maybe 15 minutes.
Reading the list of attendees, it was impossible to locate and identify people with similar interests, even with name tags.
Nobody can walk around and read 150 tags to find people that need to be networking on issues and forming partnerships to achieve similar goals.

Being that this is yet another response on a "blog", I feel strongly that for all the chatter that takes place in social media circles online, here was an opportunity to put up or shut up.
The IDNR has had their feet put to the fire for so long, and now the baton has been passed to all of us as stakeholders and citizens to be a part of the decision-making process.
They offered the opportunity to chime in online, as well as appearing in person. There isn't much more you can ask from those in charge of managing what we all cherish.
Ghandi may have put it best when he stated "Be the change you wish to see in the world".

If the needs of the IDNR are not addressed and action taken quickly, the needs of the rest of us (and our natural resources) cannot and will not be addressed adequately.
That's the bottom line.
Now is the time for all of us to put up or shut up.

To me, it's all about commitment.
To be the change you want to see in the world, you don't have to be loud. You don't have to be eloquent. You don't have to be elected. You don't even have to be particularly smart or well educated. You do, however, have to be committed.

The fire is firmly under our feet now.

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This page contains a single entry by Dale Bowman published on October 25, 2009 8:23 PM.

Down on the ground: Taking another breath was the previous entry in this blog.

Illinois bowhunters drop off record pace for deer: Rut signs is the next entry in this blog.

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