Faces in the Crowd: Rachel Dather

A BHSU students uses scholarship money to use toward supplementing a hunting club on campus.

A $1 million gift from Black Hills State University Professor of Psychology, Dr. James Hess, continues to make it possible for students to apply their course material and make a difference in the community.

Rachel Dather is one of those recipients and is making a difference with the funds.

Rachel grew up in a small town in Nebraska, with a passion for natures playground.

Dather says “I’m the youngest of five kids so being outdoors was like a necessity. I grew up on a farm with all kinds of animals: cows, sheep, goats, pigs – we were really big into 4-H and FFA. So we showed our own animals instead of just buying them every year- we raised our own.”

When Rachel began attending BHSU as an outdoor education major, she didn’t see a hunting club offered, so she started one of her own called Prairie to Plate. To help her sustain that club she applied and received scholarship money from the Hess endowment fund, which helps make it possible for students to apply their course material and make a difference in the community with the Make a Difference Scholarship.

 She drew from her work as an intern at Outdoor Campus West and collaborates with the Game, Fish and Parks to inspire students to continue their hunting passions or try it for the first time.

The club is based on the R3 model – recruit, retain, and reactivate. With hopes to bring new students to hunting and fishing as well as retain those who have had prior experience, the increase in hunting and fishing licenses will directly benefit conservation.

“Conservation is a super huge thing, people don’t realize that we have millions of acres that basically only are paid for by conservation, so when there aren’t hunters and fishers paying for licenses and tags then the numbers for conservation goes way down. And we can’t manage lands that we need to be or should be managing. So keeping people buying licenses every year, we are still getting the income that we need to educate more people and to keep conservation and everything up-to-date.”

Rachel enjoys sharing her knowledge of hunting safety and experiencing the whole process of the hunting excursion with others– from the prairie to the plate.

“I just love being around people getting to share my knowledge with others and see their faces light up when they learn something new; it’s just really exciting.”

Rachel says she will use the funds to help sustain the club for years to come after she graduates this summer, as well as purchasing recruitment tools, supplies and giveaways.

Click here for more information on Prairie to Plate.

If you would like to nominate someone for our Faces in the Crowd segment, click here.

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