By Jayne Roohr

For the third year in a row, Newberry DNR Wildlife Division staff offered a Youth in the Outdoors survey to local youth. From November 13, 2023 to January 12, 2024, the staff collected surveys to gain an understanding of what types of outdoor activities youth are interested in, and how the DNR can meet those needs.

The short survey asked what outdoor activities the youth were involved in, if they had any experience hunting, fishing, or trapping, what new outdoor activities they wanted to learn more about, and how the DNR could help them in their outdoor pursuits.

Those who submitted a survey were entered into weekly prize drawings for the duration of the survey period, and also the grand prize drawing.

Prizes included field guides, binoculars, hunting vests, hiking and camping gear, bug catchers, plush wildlife toys, bird song identification books, backpacks, duck decoys, archery targets, and more. The grand prize winner won a two-person camping tent, a sleeping bag, a foam bedroll, and all sorts of outdoor gear. Pictures of youth enjoying the outdoors were showcased in the Newberry News during the survey period.

A total of 91 surveys were submitted by youth ranging from age 4 to 18 years old. Of those 91, 44 youth were drawn to win a prize throughout the survey period. Many expressed interests in hunting or trapping, and others said they’re interested in outdoor activities like hiking, camping, bird watching, snowshoeing, riding ORVs, kayaking, or learning a new skill such as using archery equipment or how to trap.

When asked how the DNR could help them with their outdoor pursuits, 51% were interested in workshops, 10% were interested in connecting with mentors, 46% wanted to learn more about where they can go to do their favorite outdoor activities, and 19% were interested in volunteer opportunities.

Because of the survey results, a youth trapping workshop planned for Saturday, May 11, and a volunteer-friendly tree planting day in partnership with Michigan United Conservation Clubs will occur on Saturday, June 8. Youth that indicated an interest in these sorts of activities will be contacted about these upcoming events.

Be sure to look for Youth in the Outdoors surveys again next fall. Thank you to all that participated, and remember to get outside and enjoy the great outdoors!