State wildlife commission adds diversity
Far be it from me to write the review before I see the movie. Yet I can't help but think that the Wildlife Advisory Commission, which counsels both the Department of Natural Resources and the governor, has taken a turn for the better.
Three new commissioners joined the group Wednesday morning in Annapolis, providing a boost to the guys who have kept the thing upright for a decade. New blood, fresh perspective and some diversity have been added to the cast.
For starters, there's a woman at the table, a city dweller at that. Jacquelyn Bonomo of Baltimore is executive director of Audubon Maryland/DC. She's been involved in conservation issues for 25 years in 15 states and has worked for the National Wildlife Federation and the Western Pennsylvania Conservancy.
Next is Charles Rodney, a Louisiana native who "grew up a country boy," and moved to Maryland in 1972 to marry a local woman. A Prince George's County resident and part-time auctioneer, Rodney is retired from the Bureau of Engraving and Printing.
Rodney hunts rabbits with his five pure-bred beagles. He tried other kinds of hunting "but they involve sitting and I don't like to sit."
He once wondered, "how do I get over here," pointing to the page in the state's annual hunting guide that lists state officials. He doesn't have to wonder any longer. He'll be in next year's guide.
Finally, there's Lou Compton of Crisfield, a mover and shaker with the Maryland Bowhunter's Society. A Baltimore native who spent 34 years in law enforcement and corrections and who volunteers as a certified hunter safety instructor, Compton also has taken the lead in the Archery in Schools program.
"I have deep respect for the resources and the land," he said.
For the first time in a decade, the nine-member commission has a full slate. And it looks a little more like Maryland, with a woman, an African American, a few farmers, a college professor, a government worker and a businessman or two on board.
"It's a unique and diverse group that should make for some interesting dialog," said Wildlife and Heritage Service Director Paul Peditto.