Pennsylvania hunter-conservationists stepping up for wildlife
I recently had the great privilege of serving as master of ceremonies for the 9th Annual Ducks Unlimited Fundraising Banquet hosted by the Pine Grove Chapter of DU. It was a night when 201 sportsmen-conservationists joined together for good company and an even better cause.
Ducks Unlimited is a national non-profit organization, which has lead the way for waterfowl conservation alliances with its mission to protect prime nesting and flyway habitats across the country ever since its creation in the dust-bowl days of 1937. Like many other DU fundraisers across the United States, our chapter’s event helps raise the money that makes wetlands conservation and habitat restoration projects possible each year.
Our small committee of just over a dozen friends with good intentions put together a fantastic evening of delicious food, exciting prizes and plain old fun that was shared with fellow sportsmen and other supporters who understand the importance of giving back to the outdoors.
Together, we raised more than $20,000 – a small portion of which will be kept locally for basic upkeep and maintenance of the approximately 100 wood duck boxes and mallard nests our chapter services each year. The rest of the proceeds will be sent to national DU headquarters where it will be used to fund various conservation projects that benefit all wildlife species – not just waterfowl.
Events such as these demonstrate that we hunters are not the brutal savages who only care about shooting up everything in sight, as we are sometimes inaccurately portrayed by clueless anti-hunting critics.
Instead, we try to maintain a healthy balance between what we take from nature and what we give back to it. After all, one can make a point that hunters and fishermen do more to conserve wildlife and natural spaces than any other subgroup in our society.
It is our obligation to do so, because like the founders of Ducks Unlimited, we all dream of days in future generations when wildlife abounds in plentiful numbers, and our descendants can reap the benefits of clean water and flourishing fauna.
It is reassuring to know that in some small way, I am helping to make this dream become a reality by simply being involved with the various conservation groups I actively support. I commend my chapter members for their countless hours put into planning and conducting another successful banquet for the 9th consecutive year.
I also tip my hat to everyone else out there who helps to preserve all that is wild in this great nation of ours – be it NWTF, Pheasants Forever, Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation, Trout Unlimited, the Ruffed Grouse Society, Whitetails Unlimited, or the host of other great sportsmen-led conservation organizations out there.
Each group does more than its fair share to ensure that we’ll continue to enjoy our simple pleasures in the outdoors for many years to come, and I encourage all sportsmen to join in and support the efforts of these fine organizations in any way that they can. From attending banquets to lending a hand with field projects, every little bit of effort helps make a big difference.