Wood Duck Challenge
Outdoor News, Inc., Annual Wood Duck Challenge Partners with Realtree to Encourage Habitat Enhancement and Youth Awareness
Since 1990, Outdoor News, Inc., publisher of locally written fishing and hunting outdoor newspapers in seven Great Lake states, has promoted an annual “Wood Duck Challenge” geared towards constructing and installing Wood Duck nesting boxes by youth. For the past 27 years, youth groups including 4-H, Scout troops, and school classes have been participating in the annual program. In 2017, Realtree has joined the effort to increase the Wood Duck’s available nesting footprint in the Great Lakes region by sponsoring the Challenge.
The program encourages youth under the age of 18 to build a nesting box according to an approved plan, and then install the box by following directions found in recent pages of Outdoor News publications including issues for Minnesota, Wisconsin, Michigan, New York, Pennsylvania, Ohio, and Illinois. Participating youth submit a photo of their project to publish in Outdoor News and receive a commemorative Wood Duck Challenge patch, additional logo decals, and habitat information from Outdoor News, Realtree, and select waterfowl-related organizations. Partnerships including the Minnesota Waterfowl Association, the Wood Duck Society, the Michigan Duck Hunters Association, the Wisconsin Waterfowl Association, the Illinois chapter of Ducks Unlimited, and the Ohio Waterfowl Association provide additional resources for the youth such as junior memberships.
According to Mark Galloway, of the Ohio Waterfowl Association, supporting the program clearly aligns with the organization’s mission. “We’re a group of members who have gathered over the years to ensure that we, our kids, and our kids’ kids get the opportunity to enjoy the work we have done – and are still doing – in Ohio. We want to make sure that every kid has the chance to be educated, the chance to preserve habitat, and to enjoy the same pleasure of waterfowl hunting as we do now. The Wood Duck Challenge is right up that alley,” Galloway said.
On behalf of the Michigan Duck Hunters Association, Chris Simpson proudly provided special edition Duck Stamps for participating youth, and Jim King, Central Illinois senior regional director for Ducks Unlimited, renewed the organization’s commitment for another year adding that “connecting youth to our mission is a long-term benefit toward providing high-quality wetland habitat for ducks.”
About Realtree: Realtree is the world’s leading camouflage designer, marketer, and licensor with over 2,000 licensees utilizing the Realtree camouflage brand. Thousands of outdoor and lifestyle products are available in Realtree camouflage patterns. In addition, Realtree is committed to supporting individuals and groups that work to ensure our outdoor heritage, the conservation of natural places, and the wildlife that resides there. Realtree promotes its products and relationships widely on television, as well as through Realtree.com and many other outlets.
Other partners in the annual Wood Duck Challenge include the Minnesota Waterfowl Association. For 49 years, Minnesota Waterfowl Association, Inc. has been the leader in protecting our wetland habitats. This has been accomplished through the Minnesota Duck Stamp Program, The Wetland Conservation Act, The Game Lake Designations Program and numerous other initiatives. Over the past seven years MWA has been involved with the Conservation Partners Legacy (CPL) Grant Program which has resulted in 12,000 acres of waterfowl habitat restoration. Each year, MWA’s chapters work on a number of projects which create, improve and protect waterfowl habitat at the local level. In addition, MWA annually sponsors a number of Youth Camps which provide quality training and guidance in the art and science of waterfowling including mentored youth hunts. All of this has earned MWA local and national attention.
Here is a note from a Cub Scout Troop that participated in the 2011 Challenge:
The Cub Scouts of Troop 4482 took the Wood duck Challenge and donated the boxes to Shawnee State Park. Shawnee planned to place 12 of the boxes at the park and the other 4 were sent to Blue Knob State Park for placement there. The official presentation was held at our pack overnight campout on May 21, 2011. Our pack consists of 14 scouts and two future scouts that come to every meeting.
We decided to do the challenge by chance. We had to build something useful as a requirement in our books. I was reading my PA Outdoor News and flipped to the page about the challenge when my son asked me what we could build. I looked at him and said “how about this” and he liked the idea. I proposed the idea to the pack and everyone agreed. I was able to receive donations from a few local businesses and individuals to make it happen. Bedford Reinforced Plastics donated the poles for the boxes, Maynard Hall Moving and Storage donated the lumber, Chuckie C. Productions donated all the hardware and made the kits, and Dennis Holderbaum planed all the lumber to the sizes we needed.
We would also like to thank PA Outdoor News for this opportunity.
Cub Scout Pack 482 c/o Charles Corle Bedford, PA 15522