Chippewa Falls (WQOW) - An area wildlife group is set to hold its final meeting next week after decades of getting together here in western Wisconsin. The Chippewa Wildlife Society will come together once more next Wednesday. We spoke to the group's founder about the future of similar groups, and what tomorrow's wildlife enthusiasts will have to work with.
Dr. Charles Kemper has been banding birds for decades, and says they aren't the only things he sees changing over time.
"I think there will always be preserve places, but they're also under threat," said Dr. Kemper.
His own group, Chippewa Wildlife Society, will host its final meeting next Wednesday.
"Our society is folding, it's not because of bird watching, it's because the members are getting older," Kemper said.
But he says there are plenty of reasons for bird-watching enthusiasts on their own to be worried.
"More and more human beings have to make a living, and you can't blame them when they're out of work. People want to make pipelines or open pit mines. Money is a big influence," said Kemper.
Besides economic growth, there's also a shift in the future generation of wildlife watchers.
"Things have changed so much in my lifetime, the culture is all together different. With all the smart phones, television couch potatoes," explained Kemper.
Still, Dr. Kemper says there is reason to hold out hope.
"Sometimes when you're trying to make a living, you don't have time to even hardly think about going on a hike. But more and more people are buying bird seed and feeding the birds," Kemper said.
Although his own group will soon be gone, others have stepped up to help bird watchers keep their eyes entertained.
"I think we've made a lot of progress. For instance, Beaver Creek Reserve. There was no such thing when I started out. That is a growing group and I hope it lasts," said Kemper.
Dr. Kemper has done his part to help ensure a future for fellow bird watchers in our area. He donated eighty acres he owned in Chippewa County to the Chippewa Land Conservancy in 2008. That area is now called Kemper's Woods.