Our Federation works hard to equally represent our membership, who’s interests vary from angling and hunting, to conservation, trapping and sport shooting. One of our biggest accomplishments in 2021 was the development of a 3-year strategic plan, fore-casting the Federations future for the next 3-years. This endeavor involved participation from our members and engaging, thoughtful, and thorough discussions framing our core objectives. The 3-year strategic plan has been a road map for the Federation in 2021, steering the organization down a path that serves to protect our members lifestyles and promotes growth, succession, and stability within our organization.
Similar to 2020, 2021 presented its challenges but also many rewards. We faced challenges with navigating how to deliver on our objectives through a pandemic, how to keep our core operations running effectively, how to find alternatives and adapt to virtual solutions, and how to respond to new threats facing our fish and wildlife populations. We are extremely proud of how our staff, Executive Committee and members adjusted, worked together, and made huge strides to ensure MWF ended the year on solid ground. We would like to take this time to reflect on highlights and significant accomplishments made over the last 12 months. On behalf of our staff and Executive Committee, thank you all for your ongoing support and loyalties, we look forward to 2022 and continuing to build a stronger Federation.
Operations, Fundraising and Staff changes
- Dennis Schindler retired from the Land and Resource Manager position.
- We hired Nolan Sawatzky as Manager of Conservation Stewardship and Chase Dreilich as Recreational Angling Coordinator.
- We hired Josh Nenka as our Membership and Office Assistant.
- Launched new MWF merchandise collection with Sustainable Outdoors.
- Launched a new online fundraising initiative called “Catch the Ace” as an alternative to our Wild at Heart Dinner (cancelled due to COVID).
- Launched an online membership sales portal for Clubs.
- MWF was grateful the Honorable Blaine Pedersen announced a new 2-million-dollar Hunter Education endowment fund for the MWF administered by the Winnipeg Foundation.
- Completed a 3-year strategic plan with Frank Growth Solutions.
- Developed a membership campaign for 2022 with Story Point Consulting.
Outreach and Communications
- MWF continued with communications to our membership with weekly E-newsletters, an updated website, correlated magazine content, and a focus on our social media platforms.
- Successfully delivered a virtual Annual General Meeting, attended by the Minster, of Agriculture and Resource Development, Blaine Pedersen.
- Held regional meetings in Brandon.
- Hosted virtual presentations for the membership with staff from the Wildlife Branch, the Fisheries Branch, and the Conservation Officer Service.
- Launched a new video series “Learn to Fish.”
- Produced educational content, videos, and interviews around the new Spring Conservation Goose season.
- Partnered with Delta Waterfowl on virtual workshops as well as a youth hunt.
- Partnered with the “Clean Your Gear” organization to promote the recycling of used fishing line.
- Partnered with Cabela’s to distribute refurbished rods and reels to MWF affiliates and for use in learn to fish programs.
- Partnered on the Interlake Outdoors show in Arborg.
- Participated in the annual Ice Fishing Show held at The Assiniboine Downs.
- MWF had great discussions with the Indigenous People Alliance of Manitoba (IPAM), and mutually agreed that priority lies in the proper management of Manitoba’s natural resources and that all users of the resource must come together and share in the responsibility of protecting it for future generations.
- Partnered with Selkirk Game and Fish to pull off a successful 1st Shot with Team Lady Fowlers and other volunteers.
- Partnered with the Manitoba Metis Federation this summer to deliver a Learn to Fish program for a MMF camp at Lyons Lake in the Whiteshell.
- Received a grant from Cabela’s Canada to deliver online virtual hunting/fishing and outdoor related seminars through 2021 and 2022.
- Hosted numerous virtual seminars throughout the year to better engage with our members and supporters to encourage them to try new hunting/fishing and outdoor related activities.
- We partnered with Northern groups to support the Warrior Caregiver Program; the program offered a wild game cooking class that support men’s mental health in Northern Manitoba.
Fisheries, Wildlife and Enforcement Management/Advocacy
- Partnered with RM’s around Lake Winnipeg to improve access for ice anglers.
- The 2021 Provincial Budget was released with over 800k of new investments in the fish, wildlife, and enforcement budgets.
- After years of advocating, government launched a review of fishing regulations, and we were pleased with the results and look forward to the opportunities provided in the new provincial recreational angling strategy.
- With our consistent communications with government on the priority of having ample staffing levels within the Fish and Wildlife Departments, we were pleased to see the province fill over a dozen vacancies and new positions.
- MWF received a FWEF grant to improve fisheries management through angling assessment and education.
- Continued with development of a pilot project with government and other user groups on a cooperative management plan for Wildlife Management Areas. We received grant funding from the conservation trust fund (100k) to supplement an earlier grant from FWEF.
- Continued to advocate for a shared management approach for moose populations in closure areas on the East and West side of the province.
- We were pleased to see that eight WMAs were renamed after prominent conservation driven Manitobans, including John T. Williams and Dr. Frank Baldwin.
- Chronic Wasting Disease was discovered in Manitoba and MWF brought in expert guest speakers for the membership and did a huge amount of communication with provincial staff and outside experts.
- Assisted researchers in obtaining deer blood samples for the study of Jamestown Canyon Virus in White-tailed Deer.
- Manitoba launched a new spring Canada goose hunting season.
- Zebra muscles were detected in Lake Manitoba. MWF applied for grant money to develop a video series on how to properly clean your watercraft and fishing equipment.
- Government heard our concerns regarding communication and enforcement, which was dramatically increased to curtail poaching activities. The province provided Conservation Officers with 300k of dedicated funding for Night Lighting Enforcement. Aerial surveillance with thermal imaging, paired with on the ground enforcement and K9 support has been incredibly effective for officers. This coupled with regular press releases of infractions had a major impact in decreasing the number of instances of poaching in the province.
- Conservation officers for the first time in close to a decade began regular patrols on Lake Winnipeg and Lake Manitoba checking commercial fishers for compliance.
- The Conservation Officer Service was moved from the Department of Climate and Conservation over to Agriculture and Resource Development. This move was made to have the Wildlife and Fisheries Branch Staff work more collaboratively with Officers.
- MWF membership continued to provide tips of illegal activities that staff passed along to enforcement, and that led to high-profile charges laid.
- Held virtual calls with both Manitoba Premier candidates Heather Stefanson and Shelly Glover. MWF also provided both candidates with questionnaires around the issues that matter most to the membership.
- Had great discussions with Wab Kinew, the leader of the NDP and official opposition.
- The Federal Liberal Government launched changes to firearm legislation (Bill C-21) which outraged many Federation members. The MWF wrote numerous letters to government officials, provided form letters to our membership to send to their MPs and MLAs, distributed a survey to the membership about their views around the legislation, encouraged members to join other national firearms organizations, and we distributed online petitions to our membership. MWF was a key stakeholder on the Provincial Advisory Committee established by the province to review the Federal government’s new legislation. The committee sent forth recommendations to the province for their consideration.
MWF’s strongest assets for policy change and advocacy is the power of our membership. The power of 15,000 people standing behind a resource, advocating for its protection and its sustainability. MWF is honored to represent our membership and fight to see positive regulation changes, favorable hunting/fishing opportunities and good management plans for the protection and sustainability of fish and wildlife. We thank you again for your continued support and encourage you to renew your membership or sign up as a new member with your local club or sign up as a MWF supporting member.
Wishing you all the health, happiness, and many memorable days afield in 2022.