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Dedication of Jackson “Jack” Otto Memorial Bench

  • 25 Sep 2021
  • 11:00 AM
  • Jack's Pond - Lake Terrell

Thanks to the generosity of many friends and extended family members of the John and Toni Halligan Otto family, plans are a “GO” for the establishment of a memorial bench and plaque in honor of, and in memory to, 15‐year‐old Jackson “Jack” Otto, who passed away from a traumatic brain injury on March 16, 2021, just five (5) days short of his 16th birthday. The memorial is to be installed on the banks of a small pond overlooking a very special spot in the Whatcom Wildlife Area where young Jack and his father, John, spent many Youth‐Only Hunt mornings in Septembers past. This was Jack’s “favorite pond,” and a spot where he harvested his first wood duck.

A GoFundMe (linked here) established by Brad Otto (no relation) for this memorial has raised $4,635 of an initial $2,500! The WWA, with coordination from Otto family representatives, together have raised an additional $1,635. This sum includes a $1,000 donation from WWA Corporate in gratitude to John Otto for his years of donation of time and talent to WWA. (For those that don’t know the history, over a decade ago John donated gratis, all the ducks and performed all of the taxidermy on the initial 33 duck mounts contained WWA display trailer – a display that has been used over the many years to promote WWA all over Washington from the Willapa Bay Youth‐Only Hunt in Pacific County to the annual WA Brant Foundation Decoy Carving Contest in Skagit County).

The short range plan is to dedicate the bench and plaque on the morning of September 25, 2021 — the Youth‐Only Hunt Day — by the extended Otto family, their many friends, and the waterfowl community they enjoy being a big part of. The Otto family wants to make this a SPECIAL event, and all are welcome to attend.

The long range plan with the remainder of funds left over is to establish a Youth Scholarship in Jack’s name to a few youth each spring to work with local WDFW Natural Resource Technician , Brad Otto, trapping and banding wood ducks; learning their biology; building and placing nesting boxes; and maintaining the established nest boxes at the site.

WWA for its part is looking to tie in this scholarship with the college scholarship currently being offered by its Whatcom County Chapter for area youth pursuing a wildlife management or similar degree in any form of post‐secondary education. Other possible scholarship spin‐offs could include a decoy carving class; wildlife photography; farming for wildlife; and habitat importance — because the local talent is there, available, and willing to contribute.

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