Byron Sportsmen and Conservation Club receives Dodge Outstanding Conservationist award
Ever since the Byron Sportsmen and Conservation Club was founded in 1983, they have had one mission.
To help promote conservation.
Thats why it's fitting that they were selected by the Dodge County Soil and Water Conservation District as this year’s Outstanding Conservationist award.
“Since the establishment of the club, located in Section 13 of Mantorville Township, they have
been working with multiple agencies to protect and enhance the beauty and function of the
many environment found there. Uplands, woodlands, farmland, flood plain, and a river are all
present and actively being managed and enhanced,” a press release stated.
During the 36 years of the club being around, they have done a number of different projects that have helped promote conservationist.
Major projects such as working with the MN DNR to develop a Woodland Stewardship Plan,
managed tree harvest, tree plantings, to decrease the numbers of less desirable and mature
trees, opening the canopy and allowing light in for grass, shrubs, brush, more desirable young
trees and improving wildlife habitat. The original Woodland Stewardship plan was implemented
in 2004 and was updated in 2015. CRP buffers where maintained and renewed in 2018. The
Middle Fork of the Zumbro River flows through the property and there have been efforts made
to improve the streambanks using a constructed Root Abutment system and a designed willow
planting in 2003.
Other projects, including a bluebird house trail, shooting facilities improvement, picking up litter
along four miles of county and township road ditches through the Adopt a Highway program,
hosting educational events and Boy Scout activities, and supporting pollinators by hosting and
What was most impressive to the SWCD is the fact that although the club is private they are always willing to open their doors to teach the public about different things.
“Though the list of projects is impressive, the Byron Sportsmen and Conservation Club shines
with its public information and outreach programming. Even though the 475-family
membership club is private, they open the gate for many public events,” a press release stated. “During these public events, Sporting Clays, 3D archery shoot, the public is invited to participate and people are available to answer questions and assist people who may never been exposed to these activities before,” it went on to state.
Introduction classes are provided for outdoor education and shooting sports, they provide firearm safety training, and host the SE Minnesota Area Envirothon which is a High School level environmental education team competition.
They have also partnered with a number of different organizations over the years as well.
The Byron Sportsmen and Conservation Club has partnered with many federal, state, and
local agencies to proceed to this point in conserving and protecting the environment. The club
is also associated and affiliated with many other groups to move the conservation story forward
such as; National Wildlife Federation, MN Conservation Federation, Wild Turkey Federation,
Pheasants Forever, Boy Scouts of America.
Greg Leth, the president of the club said that they are very humbled to have received the award.
“We take conservation seriously it’s part of clubs mission and we are proud and humbled to receive this award,” Leth said.
Leth also explained that because of the history of the award they are extremely proud to receive it.
“The award typically goes to a farmer so it came to us as a bit of a surprise,” Leth said. “We couldn’t be more proud and honored.”