Ben Carlson, Fargo
A distinct childhood memory that helped shape my adult life is accompanying my friend and his family on their annual hunting trip to Lidgerwood. Being a city kid, I was struck that the wetlands outnumbered the houses and the lack of trees made me feel I could see for hundreds of miles.
The morning of our first hunt was cold and windy. After walking through a field of grass, we arrived at a small, shallow and smelly wetland where we would be setting up. As the sun began to rise, it revealed a sky full of orange, red and blue colors unlike anything I'd seen. I heard my friend yell "Get down!" and realized not only was the sky full of colors, but it was also full of ducks. All kinds of ducks were coming from every direction. I don't recall how many birds we ended up with, but I will always remember the beautiful scenery, the whistling wings, the feel of the cold wind, and the unfortunate smell of the wetland.
These are the types of memories the Clean Water, Wildlife and Parks initiative is trying to protect for future generations. Over the years I've had the opportunity to work many seasonal jobs throughout the state, from Garrison to Cayuga. I've learned that grasslands and wetlands are vital habitat for waterfowl and other wildlife. Currently both are being destroyed at rates higher than ever before. I am in full support of the Clean Water, Wildlife and Parks initiative because I believe it will help preserve wildlife habitat and help N.D. remain the state I know and love.