The Minnesota Conservation Federations Conservation Leadership Corps (CLC) is an exciting and engaging hands on experience that introduces participants to hunting, fishing, and other outdoor opportunities.

Participants in the program are college students who have an interest in a natural resources major or career but have not had the chance to take part in fishing or hunting activities. Taking part in the CLC provides them with new experiences and information that will help to broaden their understanding of conservation and its connection to those who fish, hunt, and trap.

We strive to create a program that is welcoming and understanding of the backgrounds and values or our participants.

Students accepted into the program must

-be enrolled in a college or university in Minnesota and express an interest in pursing a natural resources based major or career.

-have an interest in, but have not had the chance to experience hunting, fishing, or trapping.

-be open to new experiences, people, and ideas.

2022-23 Conservation Leadership Corp program begins!

A new group of CLC gathered in October to begin their CLC journey. These future conservation leaders came hailed from point across Minnesota and are currently attending the University of Minnesota TC, UMD, and Bemidji State. Conservation mentors for the weekend included Mercedes Akinseye, a member of the MNCF board, and Kelsi LaSharr, a wildlife health specialist with the DNR, and Brad Gausman, Executive Director of MNCF.

Students attending the program learn about the connection between waterfowl hunting and conservation, hear about how to get involved in conservation careers, get an introduction to shotgun shooting, and engage in a hunting opportunity.

Getting in some shotgun practice.

The full 22-23 cohort.

Getting comfortable in the pit blind.

Early morning light

Guide Brennan Schutte talks with the students about the geese they harvested.

Students and Conservation Mentors after a successful morning hunt

2021-22 Conservation Leadership Corps

CLC participants got outside and into the field to hunt, fish, and trap over the course of three CLC programs. Conservation mentors were on hand to let the students know more about the work they do to ensure the health and viability of the woods, waters, and wildlife that are critical to the residents of Minnesota, human and otherwise.  This year students from across Minnesota participated. The University of MN Twin Cities, U of M Duluth, U of M Crookston, Bemidji State, and Vermillion CC were all represented in the 21-22 CLC class.

Three programs were held over the 21-22 year.

  • October 2021: Goose hunting near Rochester MN.
  • December 2021: Beaver trapping near Brainerd MN.
  • May 2022: Fishing on Lake Traverse on the MN/SD border.

The group gathers after a morning in the goose blind.

Firearm safety refresher and target practice on the shotgun range before the hunt activity.

Local CO Annette Kyllo talks about the role of the Conservation Officer and the path she took to her position with the DNR.

The group gathered on a sunny day in the Brainerd area and found success on the trap line.

Trapper Todd explains trap placement and the beavers aquatic environment to the students.

A skinning demonstration and discussion of the various parts of a beaver to be harvested is given after time in the field.

Lake Travers in Western Minnesota was a great spot to find some fish.

The wind kept us off the water but not off the fish!

Walleye, Crappie, Pike, and Smallmouth bass were all caught off the dock!

2020-21 Conservation Leadership Corps

With the onset of Covid it was clear that our 2020-21 CLC program would not look like our past sessions. Modifications were made to our leaning environments and our patient participants needed to wait until the spring until we could gather together.

Our adventures were worth the wait!

In April 2021 5 new turkey hunters took to the field alongside mentors to experience a turkey hunt  near Lake City Minnesota. The weekend included an information session on turkey hunting from MN Conservation Officer Brittany Hauser, time spent patterning shoguns at a local farm, and a morning in the turkey woods. The turkeys had an active morning and everyone experienced gobbling birds and most hunters did see turkeys.

In May 2021 we took a kayak trip on the Mississippi River. The trip started at Bohemian Flats park in Minneapolis MN. We traveled through the only deep gorge on the entire river, paddled through a lock and damn, continued past the confluence with the Minnesota River and ended our day near downtown St. Paul.

CLC hunters and mentors.

Participants gathered to target shoot.

CLC student Emma patterning a shotgun before the hunt.

Starting our river journey.

Leaving the lock and damn.

A perfect blue sky day for a paddle.

2019-20 Conservation Leadership Corps