Friday, February 28, 2020

Letter: Ducks Unlimited allows people to give back to nature

A wood duck at the Maple River State Game Area. Photo courtesy of David Bowers.
A wood duck at the Maple River State Game Area. Photo courtesy of David Bowers. —

By Gloria ZurHorst

ZurHorst is a fisheries and wildlife junior.

Quack quack, did you hear that? The ducks are back! Thanks to Michigan State University’s Ducks Unlimited, DU, chapter, they have a place to stay. I’ll never forget going out on the ice in the wetlands of Sleepy Hollow State Game Area to repair wood duck boxes. In spite of the freezing temperatures, we had a great time that Saturday morning, being outside and doing what we have a passion for.

I had heard of Ducks Unlimited and wanted to get involved, but didn’t know how, until I stumbled across a member in one of my classes. He was eager to give me the information I needed and told me about the project.

The boxes we placed in Sleepy Hollow were created by a local boy scout troop. The youth wanted to help, so they partnered with DU and my chapter to form the project. We work with many local organizations because our supporters are all around and eager to take action.

Just like the duck box repairing project, all the fundraisers and projects I’ve been part of have been worth the time spent to make them happen. As a Fisheries and Wildlife student, all I want is to make a difference and create a better habitat for the outdoors I care so much about. I found a way to do that through DU because they are involved in projects that are focused on the prosperity of wildlife. A common misconception is that the members are mostly hunters who only have their own interests in mind. While hunters are huge supporters, they aren’t the only ones involved, many are birders, naturalists, and those regularly involved in conservation efforts.      

“When I’m outdoors, it’s just myself, hunting partner, my dog and mother nature," Ducks Unlimited member Ed Neubecker said. "We are all there to just enjoy and appreciate the things that mother nature works so hard to create. No conflict.”

Ducks Unlimited has conserved 14,500,000 acres of wetland and associated uplands in North America. Each year there are more than 4,000 local fundraisers across the U.S. that aid in raising crucial funds for conservation efforts. Much of the public land that the public love in Michigan has been restored by organizations like DU. Without them and their members, the amazing natural space you love might not exist.

We all know that because of human activity, wetlands are endangered. If we do not increase our influence on wetland restoration, we won’t have any of our beloved waterfowl left to save. You can get outside, make friends, and GO GREEN by joining your local DU chapter. Search for your local chapter on ducks.org today to make your impact.

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