Meet Declan O’Reilly, age nine. Declan lives in Royal Oak and is an avid fisherman thanks in part to fishing trips on the Au Sable River with his maternal grandfather. When Declan’s family was visiting up north this past summer, they stopped at the Oden State Fish Hatchery. While there, Declan purchased a $1 fish sticker that had caught his eye. The sticker happened to be of an Arctic grayling, a fish once native to Michigan waters, and connected Declan to the website for the Michigan Arctic Grayling Initiative, www.migrayling.org.
Declan O’Reilly, age 9
There he learned about the Arctic grayling as well as the Michigan Department of Natural Resources’ (DNR) efforts to reintroduce this important native fish in Michigan waters. With the help of his mom Laura, Declan turned his ninth birthday celebration into a fundraiser, which included a neighborhood parade.
Declan chose the Arctic Grayling Reintroduction Fund for his birthday fundraiser. The DNR established this special project fund at the Petoskey-Harbor Springs Area Community Foundation in 2019 to accept donations for its initiative. Thanks to Declan’s interest, and to generous gifts received from his friends and family, Declan has raised over $1,800 (and counting!) for the Arctic Grayling Reintroduction Fund. Declan’s mom Laura Shultz shared how proud she is of her son, who would not generally chose to be the center of attention, for his dedication to this project.
Hats off to this young philanthropist! Thank you, Declan, and belated happy birthday wishes!
UPDATE (12/9/2021): Not only has Declan been featured in a recent Detroit News article, but he has also upped his goal to raise $2,000 for the Arctic Grayling Reintroduction Fund, according to his mom Laura.
If you are interested in contributing to our Arctic Grayling Reintroduction Fund, you can make a secure online gift here.