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SUBMITTED PHOTO Pictured is a likeness of the monument to be erected on the Worthington Wells Wildlife Management Area.

Scott Rall: What have you done that will last a lifetime?

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Scott Rall

Daily Globe outdoors columnist 

When my son Brandon graduated from high school, the gift that I gave him was a Springfield/Armory .45 ACP pistol.

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That was a little over 10 years ago and he still has it. I told him that if he ever got in a pickle that he should never sell a gun. They are to be owned, enjoyed and passed down to his sons and daughters someday.

Out of curiosity I asked the participants of my last conceal and carry class if any of them could name a gift they had received for graduation and if they could, did they still have it?

Not one person in any of my classes over the past four years could name even one gift given them at high school graduation still in their possession.

Most of things we get over the course of our lives come and go. Some things break, others wear our or just get lost. When it comes to my outdoor efforts to conserve wildlife habitat I want to do the kind of things that last forever. Efforts that can and will leave a legacy mean the most to me and will ultimately have the greatest affect on those who come behind me. This is why permanent land acquisitions are my favorite kind of habitat work.

The old saying, “Out of sight is out of mind” is so true. When I am dead and gone from this planet the most lasting mark I will most likely leave is the land I helped protect and the thousands of trees I have planted. They might very well live for 100 years or more.

These efforts leave a mark that lasts a long time. Nobles County Pheasants Forever did a tree planting project with the local Lions Club three years ago. After we finished, we commented that these individuals had planted more trees in this single day than they had in all of their lives combined up to that point. Permanent wildlife habitat efforts can be enjoyed by future generations. Someday my great grandkids might hunt on a spot I helped protect.

There is a project that has been in the news the last few weeks, and that is the recent land purchase by Nobles County Pheasants Forever in partnership with several other entities. They include the DNR, Reinvest in Minnesota Critical Habitat Match, the Okabena-Ocheda Watershed, Worthington Public Utilities and — as of today — the E.O. Olson Trust.

Some, if not all, of these names are familiar to many of you but there is one additional partner that most of you will not have heard of. This entity is called the Build a Wildlife Area Fund (BAWA). This Pheasants Forever National effort was started a few years back and has participated in many habitat acquisitions across the state. BAWA uses contributions from individuals and businesses to match and re-match local dollars. In some cases each donated dollar is matched three to four times.

When BAWA got involved in this project it contributed substantial non-local dollars — $25,000 to be exact — to help make this great project a reality. The local land purchase is being called the Worthington Wells Wildlife Management Area as it is located in a critical part of the wellhead protection area just north of Lake Bella. As a result of their participation BAWA is going to take part in the dedication of this parcel next Oct. 11 during the Minnesota Governors Pheasant Hunting Opener festivities. Governor Dayton will be in town to help celebrate this addition to the state’s wildlife recreation system.

BAWA is going to erect a granite monument on the site to thank and recognize every entity that helped make this project a reality. Any individual or business that contributes $500 or more will have their name carved in the granite monument.

I have already collected the names of 10 folks who have committed this amount. The larger the donation, the larger their presence there will be. When I think about all of the local sportsmen that have had enjoyed their outdoor lifestyle over the past decades in Nobles County, it would only make sense to me that these folks or their families would want to leave a lasting mark in Nobles County by adding their name or the name of their loved one to this great project.

Anyone who contributes $100-$499 will receive a certificate of appreciation for their donation. No amount is too big or too small.

You do not need to be an outdoors person or hunter to benefit from this project. Although it will add 143 acres of grassland for hunters to pursue their quarry, it will also protect what is becoming a very precious resource in our county and that is clean water. The well levels are as low as they have been in a very long time and protecting the single largest source of Worthingtons’ water supply is a cause worth the participation of every resident.

Many municipalities have wells located all around the county. If a single well were to become contaminated they would shut down that well and draw the water from wells located elsewhere. As you may or may not know, almost all of Worthington’s wells are located in very close proximity to one another, most with a 1.5- mile radius. If one well were to become contaminated it is very likely that all of the wells could become contaminated based on their close proximity. We don’t have wells located elsewhere to fall back on.

This is why the Worthington Public Utilities has worked so hard in conjunction with Nobles County Pheasants Forever and our other partners to do everything they can to protect this very localized water source. Over the last 10 years all of the most vulnerable acres have been covered with undisturbed grasslands in the well head protection area. This is a great testament to their well head protection efforts which benefit all area residents.

Every acre is protected forever and decades from now folks will look back at this as one of the most successful efforts of its kind in all of the upper Midwest. The Worthingon Wells Wildlife Management Area is living proof that wildlife habitat protection and water resource protection go hand in hand. More and more partnerships like the one forged locally are being developed all over the state.

Now is your chance to be part of this exciting project by having your name, your family’s name or the name of your business added to the list of donors that will be recognized on the granite monument.

The monument will be in place this October so the deadline to participate is not far off. All the donors names will be read as part of the dedication ceremony. This is one of those opportunities to participate in something that will last forever. Whether you are hunter, wildlife watcher, photographer or just one who appreciates clean water, this is the type of habitat and water protection that lasts forever and leaves behind the kind of legacy that current and future generations can all benefit from.

If you are interested in leaving a legacy for your family or business, please contact me at scottarall@gmail.com I will get you any additional information you might need. All contributions are deductible and the checks are made out to Nobles County Pheasants Forever BAWA.

One hundred years from now the trees we plant and the good legacy work we do will be the only reminders that we were ever here. Please consider leaving a small part of your legacy on this project.

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