Congressman Bob Latta shares his love of the outdoors

May 7, 2024 | Ottawa Outdoors | 0 comments

Congressman Bob Latta’s political journey has been guided by an effort to encourage kids to discover the outdoors. Here, Latta, center, stands with his wife, Marcia Latta, left, and Division of Wildlife Chief Kendra Wecker in front of the Magee Marsh Visitors Center on Governor’s Bird Ohio Day. (Photo by Sheri Trusty)

BY SHERI TRUSTY

When Congressman Bob Latta was a young boy, his family kept feeders filled with birdseed in the backyard, and his father invited him to tag along, gun in hand, into the woods during hunting season. That early influence encouraged a passion for conservation and a lifelong interest in birding and hunting.

Latta was among the dignitaries who joined Governor Mike DeWine at Governor’s Bird Ohio Day at Magee Marsh Wildlife Area on May 2. The event is the official kickoff of the Biggest Week in American Birding.

Conservation, birding and hunting are collaboratively intertwined. Among other connections, regulated hunting and the funds provided through hunting fees help create sustainable wildlife populations and protect habitat. Nowhere is that better understood than at Magee Marsh, which offers controlled hunting and trapping for waterfowl, deer and furbearers in season. As a young boy, Latta often hunted on land near Magee Marsh.

But on May 2, the focus was on a different season – birding season – which draws thousands of people from around the world to Magee Marsh and other local birding hotspots each year. Latta became an avid birder when he was just a child.

“We always fed the birds at my home when I was young, and I kept a list of birds I saw,” he said.

Growing up in a family that valued the outdoors helped Latta understand the beneficial influence nature has on a child and helped guide his congressional journey. He served on the Congressional Sportsmen’s Caucus, where he championed outdoor causes, and throughout his career, he has focused on a mission of creating outdoor opportunities for children.

“In Congress, my whole push was to get kids outdoors,” he said.

The seeds of that mission were planted in the woods, by his father’s side.

“I’ve been very fortunate. My dad started me outdoors at a very young age,” Latta said.

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