Outdoor News, Inc., Annual Wood Duck Challenge Marks 25 Years of Habitat Enhancement and Youth Awareness
(Plymouth, Minn.) — 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 25 years, youth groups including 4-H, Scout troops, and school classes have been increasing the Wood Duck’s available nesting footprint in the Great Lakes region by participating in 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, Gander Mountain, 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, president 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. The organization is currently working with Ohio-based Boy Scout Troops to place 100 new nesting boxes from Lake Erie to the Ohio River by the end of March 2015.
On behalf of the Michigan Duck Hunters Association, group President 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 a second year adding that “connecting youth to our mission is a long-term benefit toward providing high-quality wetland habitat for ducks.”
For more information on the Outdoor News Wood Duck Challenge and to find links to the supporting partners, visit www.outdoornews.com/Wood-Duck-Challenge.