News release: Minnesota DNR recognizes youth for outstanding conservation efforts

September 11, 2023

The Minnesota Department of Natural Resources recently honored two youths for their outstanding conservation efforts during a ceremony Friday, Sept. 1, at the Minnesota State Fair.

Tyler Egler from Newport in Washington County received the 4-H award and Ethan Maras from Morris in Stevens County received the Future Farmers of America award.

The DNR Commissioner’s Youth Awards are given annually to a 4-H member and FFA student who have demonstrated initiative, leadership, creativity and achievement in conservation and wise use of natural and agricultural resources. This is the 32nd year of the award program.

Egler, a 4-H member, has always had a particular interest in amphibians and fish. Egler also participates in the 4-H Outdoor Wilderness Leadership and Service Program. These interests and experiences led Egler to develop a 4-H project about the Blanchard’s cricket frog.

The Blanchard’s cricket frog is Minnesota’s only state-endangered frog. To get started, Egler had to learn the specific sounds made by a Blanchard’s cricket frog and other frogs, as well as select suitable survey locations. Egler then used a mobile app provided by HerpMapper to record his survey findings. The Minnesota DNR congratulates Egler on receiving the 2023 DNR Commissioner’s 4-H Youth Award.

Maras has a strong interest in waterfowl hunting and waterfowl habitat, so he jumped at the opportunity to work for Delta Waterfowl, a waterfowl conservation organization. Maras’ work focused on the annual maintenance of “hen houses,” or nesting structures for ducks, in a three-county area in west central Minnesota. His responsibilities included recording nesting activities using an app-based map called “Quick Capture,” cleaning and re-stocking nesting materials, performing any repairs needed to the hen houses, and tracking his budget.

Maras’ work with Delta Waterfowl taught him about collecting data, tracking geographical locations, and keeping accurate financial records, as well as the importance of safety planning when working in remote field locations. The Minnesota DNR congratulates Maras on receiving the 2023 DNR Commissioner’s FFA Youth Award.

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