By PAIGE LaBARGE
Capital News Service
LANSING — The Michigan Animal Damage Control Association is looking to expand its mission to be a political and educational organization that will support regulations and connect with other groups on the state and national level.
Association members deal with nuisance wildlife and are now educationally reaching out to do more than just catch animals, according to Kevin Baker, its secretary.
“We deal with infestations, bats in the attic and things people normally don’t like, but recently we’re trying to work on a national and statewide level,” Baker said. “Our services extend throughout the state, but areas like Manistee and Muskegon have a large number of certified employees.”
According to Baker, the organization is focusing on a certification test the National Wildlife Control Operator Association and the Department of Natural Resources (DNR) are developing.
“The organization is combining with the national level to work with the DNR and enact a certification test for people in the wildlife control services,” Baker said. “The test must be passed in order for anyone to work for us.”
Baker said it is extending educational services as well as public meetings.
“We hold annual seminars where we bring in speakers and offer workshops to discuss what were doing and how we can help as an organization,” Baker said.
The association holds a mini-seminar in September or October that concentrates on the careers in damage control.
“We usually hold this in varied locations in town halls but this seminar is very intimate and hands-on,” Baker said. “We teach people how to work in this industry and give them career chances.”
The association is using social media aspects to reach out to the public as well, Baker said.
“We’re working on updating the website and a current online newsletter that will concentrate on networking with vendors and customers,” Baker said.
Richard Smith, the association’s public relations officer, says it is focusing on community outreach.
“We go to communities and hold these meetings to talk about animal diseases, infestation and how to handle it,” Smith said. “We want to make sure people know of us as a helping organization and a part of the community.”
© 2011, Capital News Service, Michigan State University School of Journalism. Not to be reproduced without permission.