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The North Wind

The North Wind

The North Wind

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Abigail Faix
Abigail Faix
Features Editor

My name is Abby, I am a fourth-year student at Northern. I am studying Multimedia Journalism with a minor in Political Science. I've always been passionate about journalism since I was in high school....

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The North Wind is an independent student publication serving the Northern Michigan University community. It is partially funded by the Student Activity Fee. The North Wind digital paper is published daily during the fall and winter semesters except on university holidays and during exam weeks. The North Wind Board of Directors is composed of representatives of the student body, faculty, administration and area media.

LEAVE NO TRACE — Heather Vivian from Respect Marquette County educates on the impacts of outdoor recreation as part of the organizations mission of protecting natural resources.
Leave No Trace 101 workshop promotes protecting natural resources
Benjamin BuresDecember 1, 2023

Awesome avian actors


An owl, falcon, hawk and token turtle wooed audience members at Birds of Prey

The Northern Michigan Fisheries and Wildlife Association (NMFWA) hosted the sixth annual Birds of Prey event last Friday. Bart Kotarba of the Northwoods Wildlife Center (NWC) and Jerry Maynard of the Chocolay Raptor Center (CRC) presented an Eastern Screech Owl, a Peregrine Falcon, a Red Tail Hawk, an American kestrel and a Broad-Winged Hawk. Turtles, too, were included in the event — a “grumpy looking” turtle named Woody who “tries to bite everyone,” Danielle Dershem said, senior biology major and president of the NMFWA.

Before the grand revealing of the birds, presenters tried to “slam” as much explanation of the biology behind the birds. Then the minute a bird came out, audience members directed their attention to snapping just the right photo, Dershem said.

“I loved seeing people react to the different birds [and giving] people access to this event that they might not have otherwise,” Dershem said. “Chocolay is local, but they only do a couple events a year, so it’s cool to show that you don’t have to go very far to find birds.”

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Birds of Prey has gained a large following, with children and the elderly among its more passionate fans. Professors and community members have reached out to the NMFWA inquiring about the event.

“That was cool because we’ve never had a following before. It was really fun to see that people remembered this happened and were excited to come again this year,” Dershem said.

An unprecedented amount of grade-school children outnumbered college students, as last week was their spring break. Excitement poured from their eyes as Kotarba from the NWC walked around the room with a Screech Owl perched on his outstretched arm. Dershem said it was great to see children’s genuine interest in birds and their excitement at the event, especially a young girl who attended last year. She sat in the front row, a stack of field guides and a long list of questions in hand, ready to fact-check everything the presenters said.

“It’s also really popular among retirees and they’re usually the ones that come up to us after the event. Old people love birds; it’s a thing,” Dershem said with a laugh. “I have interacted with my fair share of elderly birders.”

Last year’s event was held in a small lecture hall in Jamrich where nearly every inch was occupied by awestruck attendees. Although the numbers were slightly smaller than last year, Dershem said there were still people sitting on the floor in Weston Hall in a room with over 80 seats. She attributes this year’s lower turn-out to the offset location from main campus and other accessibility issues.

“There were more science students this year, so next year we’re hoping to get into the big lecture hall in Jamrich,” Dershem said. “The problem last year was that we outgrew that room and it’s not my favorite feeling asking people to sit on the floor.”

The mission of the NMFWA is to provide students interested in fisheries and wildlife and biology fields with hands on experience. Through workshops with NMU professors and the DNR, students learn about a variety of job opportunities, Dershem explained.

“We get a lot of people who are say ‘I like animals, I want to be a vet or zookeeper and work for the DNR.’ There’s so much more than that. Not everyone can do those jobs when there’s all these other agencies that need to get filled,” Dershem said. “We want students to branch out and fully understand the field and see how they can succeed.”

Students involved in NMFWA have the opportunity to help plan the event, which includes getting SFC funding, reserving a room and planning the Facebook event. Dershem said this interdisciplinary event requires coordination between the CRC and Northwoods. Dershem expressed gratitude for the SFC for funding the event once again, especially as prices have gone up with the increased demand. The NWC and CRC get a pretty sizeable donation that goes straight back into conservation work, Dershem said.

“We’re looking forward to next year and that we had such a great turn-out. It’s been more successful every single year and we have a following now,”
Dershem said.

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