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July 14, 2010

Lynn Tjeerdsma

Q: How did you get into hunting and fishing?

I was born on the same farm I own now that was homesteaded by my great-great-grandfather in South Dakota near the Missouri River. Pheasant season was a highlight of each year for me growing up, as we would host out-of-state hunters. I was allowed to hunt with the group and was retrieving birds when I was 7 years old. Along with pheasant hunting, shooting mallards and Canada geese was also part of my hunting heritage. I’ve also spent time shooting prairie dogs, prairie chickens and sharp-tailed grouse. I started out learning how to fish for bullheads using a cane pole before I even attended grade school. I later graduated to a Zebco rod, catching crappies while ice fishing in the wintertime and catfish in the summertime.

Q: What led you to your career in conservation?

During my farming career in South Dakota, I quickly learned that the best way to produce the wildlife I loved to hunt was to make certain there was enough habitat available. I enrolled land in the Conservation Reserve Program the first year it began and have ground enrolled in the CRP today. I also participated in the Great Plains Conservation Program and Agriculture Conservation Program by seeding grass and planting more than nine acres of trees. Growing up in the wildlife-rich area near the Missouri River made me realize that it is a privilege to enjoy these lands and they need to be preserved for others. There’s no greater goal in my professional career than to develop and administer public policy that enhances soil and water quality and wildlife habitat and preserves it for future generations. During my career at the TRCP [Tjeerdsma worked as a consultant supporting the TRCP’s Farm Bill initiative for nearly three years], Jim Range inspired me to do more for conservation and wildlife.

Q: How did you get involved with the TRCP?

My first association with the TRCP was as a career Farm Service Agency employee participating in the USDA Senior Executive Service program. Under this program I needed to do a three-month detail with a non-government organization. I was fortunate to choose the TRCP and was initially going to split my detail between the TRCP and an agricultural organization; however, I enjoyed working at the TRCP so much I stayed there the entire three months. This led to my being detailed to the TRCP from the FSA for a total of two years under an Intergovernmental Personnel Act Mobility Program to work on the conservation title of the 2008 Farm Bill.

Q: What do you think are the most important conservation issues facing sportsmen today?

Habitat, habitat, habitat. Our country loses more than 1 million acres each year due to urban sprawl, the need to grow inexpensive food and growing fuel to lessen our dependence on foreign energy. Sound conservation and habitat development practices must fit into the equation – which is no small task. It is more important now more than ever for conservationists to be united.

Q: What are your hopes for the future of the TRCP?

The TRCP has an important role to play in the future of wildlife and conservation because of the coalition of member organizations it represents. My hope for the future of the TRCP is that it continues as a strong and unified voice to Congress and the administration on issues of mutual interest among its member organizations. My hope also is that conservation, wildlife and hunting and fishing organizations will support the TRCP. The TRCP doesn’t compromise their individual identities or goals in any way – but offers sportsmen’s groups an opportunity to unite in support of issues on which they mutually agree.

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July 4, 2010

Theodore Roosevelt a Proud American President

In honor of July Fourth, here are a few Theodore Roosevelt quotations reflecting his hopes for America.

“Is America a weakling, to shrink from the work of the great world powers? No! The young giant of the West stands on a continent and clasps the crest of an ocean in either hand. Our nation, glorious in youth and strength, looks into the future with eager eyes and rejoices as a strong man to run a race.”

“The country needs and, unless I mistake its temper, the country demands bold persistent experimentation. It is common sense to take a method and try it, if it fails, admit it frankly and try another, but above all, try something.”

“It is by no means necessary that a great nation should always stand at the heroic level. But no nation has the root of greatness in it unless in time of need it can rise to the heroic mood.” 


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June 19, 2010

June Photo of the Month

Former TRCP intern Hank Forrester and his dog, Teddy, pose with a hard-earned gobbler in North Carolina. We want to see your photos. E-mail them to info@trcp.org or post them in our “fan photos” album on Facebook.


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June 18, 2010

Theodore Roosevelt and John Burroughs

In a world before radio, television and the Internet, Theodore Roosevelt was a voracious reader. He read at least one book per day, and his interests covered an enormously wide range of subjects. One can only imagine what a man with his energy and curiosity would have consumed had he access to Google, Twitter and Facebook.

Among his favorite authors was the nature writer and essayist John Burroughs. When the two met in 1889, it marked the beginning of a 30-year friendship — which only ended with Roosevelt’s death in 1919.

The two were polar opposites in many ways. T.R. was a mercurial, animated and action-driven man of science while Burroughs was an introspective, contemplative and poetic observer of nature. T.R. hunted throughout his life, whereas Burroughs gave it up as he grew older. Burroughs loved to fish, especially for brook trout in his beloved Catskill Mountains, while T.R. did not particularly enjoy the sport.

Regardless of these differences they developed a deep and abiding admiration for each other. Soon after meeting T.R., Burroughs wrote, “I thought him very rigorous, alive all over, with a great variety of interests. … It was surprising how well he knew the birds and animals. He’s a rare combination of sportsman and the naturalist.”

Roosevelt in turn dedicated his 1905 book, “Outdoor Pleasures of an American Outdoorsman,” to Burroughs.

“Every lover of outdoor life must feel a sense of affectionate obligation to you,” Roosevelt wrote. “Your writings appeal to all who care for the life of the woods and fields, whether their tastes keep them in the homely, pleasant farm country or lead them into the wilderness. It is a good thing for our people that you should have lived: surely no man can wish to have more said of him.”

In reference to the two-week camping trip the two took in Yellowstone National Park in 1903, T.R. continued, “You were with me on one of the trips described in this volume, and I trust that to look it over will recall the pleasant days we spent together.” Their writings are enjoyed by sportsmen, conservationists and lovers of literature nearly 100 years after their deaths — a fact that would please them both to no end.


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Roosevelt as a budding conservationist

Theodore Roosevelt first traveled west to hunt and ranch in the Dakotas. He was deeply affected by the people, animals and the stunning vistas found in the untouched landscapes where he rode. During his time out West, Roosevelt witnessed the extermination of the American buffalo – an experience that changed him forever. He saw the death of these majestic beasts as a “veritable tragedy of the animal world” and wrote about it extensively in his book, “Hunting Trips of a Ranchman”:

It may truthfully be said that the sudden and complete extermination of the vast herds of the buffalo is without a parallel in historic times. No sight is more common on the plains than that of a bleached buffalo skull; and their countless numbers attest the abundance of the animal at a time not so very long past. On those portions where the herds made their last stand, the carcasses, dried in the clear, high air, or the mouldering skeletons, abound.

Last year, in crossing the country around the heads of the Big Sandy, O’Fallon Creek, Little Beaver, and Box Alder, these skeletons or dried carcasses were in sight from every hillock, often lying over the ground so thickly that several score could be seen at once. A ranchman who at the same time had made a journey of a thousand miles across Northern Montana, along the Milk River, told me that, to use his own expression, during the whole distance he was never out of sight of a dead buffalo, and never in sight of a live one.

Thus, though gone, the traces of the buffalo are still thick over the land. Their dried dung is found everywhere, and is in many places the only fuel afforded by the plains; their skulls, which last longer than any other part of the animal, are among the most familiar of objects to the plainsman; their bones are in many districts so plentiful that it has become a regular industry, followed by hundreds of men (christened “bone hunters” by the frontiersmen), to go out with wagons and collect them in great numbers for the sake of the phosphates they yield; and Bad Lands, plateaus, and prairies alike, are cut up in all directions by the deep ruts which were formerly buffalo trails.

The TRCP is working hard to conserve vital habitat for our fish and wildlife populations – an unmatched resource for sportsmen. Donate today.



Theodore Roosevelt’s experiences hunting and fishing certainly fueled his passion for conservation, but it seems that a passion for coffee may have powered his mornings. In fact, Roosevelt’s son once said that his father’s coffee cup was “more in the nature of a bathtub.” TRCP has partnered with Afuera Coffee Co. to bring together his two loves: a strong morning brew and a dedication to conservation. With your purchase, you’ll not only enjoy waking up to the rich aroma of this bolder roast—you’ll be supporting the important work of preserving hunting and fishing opportunities for all.

$4 from each bag is donated to the TRCP, to help continue their efforts of safeguarding critical habitats, productive hunting grounds, and favorite fishing holes for future generations.

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