He is one of 88 in Ohio and planned it that way since the 6th grade. Chad Grote’s love of the outdoors at an early age set him on a career path that led to his current post as the Wildlife Officer for Marion County. He says his love of field and forest drew him to pursue a career with the Ohio Division of Wildlife–“what better way to protect what you care about than to enforcement of its laws?”
He has been at it for 10 years, that last eight in Marion, and says, even though he is on call 24/7, he doesn’t tire of the job because, “the community is very supportive and really are a big help in keeping an eye on Marion’s natural areas.”
More than 90 percent of Chad’s time is spent with people who are friendly and following the rules. While there is the occasional violator to contend with, he spends most of his time educating and building relationships. Along with patrolling Marion’s public wildlife areas, the largest being Big Island at 6,000 acres, Grote works with local organizations like Scout groups, fish and game clubs, youth groups, and more to educate the next generation of outdoors enthusiasts.
In addition to Big Island, Chad patrols the Beaver Wildlife Area, Marion County sections of Killdeer Plains and Delaware Wildlife Areas, as well as the Marion Tallgrass Trail. Having a green four-wheel drive truck as an office is exactly as Chad would have it, saying “the best part of the job is that you never know what each day will hold–like, meeting birders from Florida or hunters from Michigan who have come to Marion to enjoy our woods, fields, and wetlands.”
For Grote, his mission to protect Marion’s outdoors has a far-reaching goal, “I want to make sure your children’s children’s children have these natural areas to enjoy.”