Richmond County Ducks Unlimited will be holding its annual Dinner and Fundraiser at 5:30 p.m. March 7, at the Moose Lodge of Rockingham.
Among many causes to celebrate, the organization earlier this year cleaned and maintained around 67 wood duck boxes in the county. Proving to be regular visitors, screech owls were once again found in some of the boxes. The cleaning and maintenance continued to be a great success with the duck box program and it has been expanded to include the boxes at Hinson Lake. Volunteers are working with the N.C. Wildlife Commission of Sandhills to replace the boxes at Hinson Lake. As they were cleaning out the boxes recently, it was discovered that the ducks had already begun this year’s nesting.
Richmond County Vice Chairman Gary Payne was recently promoted to N.C. Western Region State Vice Chairman. Payne will now be overseeing about 30 Ducks Unlimited chapters throughout North Carolina. Part of his duties will be to continue to assist with events, and coordinate with the main office in Memphis, Tenn., on a regional basis. He has been a Ducks Unlimited member since 2007 when he started off as a volunteer.
“He deserves it,” said Chairman Frank Parker. “He’s a person that goes above and beyond the duties and makes things happen.”
Payne said he sees the Western North Carolina region as being one of the best regions for Ducks Unlimited in the upcoming years. The wetlands are important from all aspects of life. Ducks Unlimited strives to involve all people who share a wish to conserve; hunters as well as outdoor enthusiasts.
“We are always looking for people to volunteer their help,” said Payne. “Just because you’re not a hunter doesn’t mean you can’t help conserve.”
Anyone attending the March 7 event is treated to a meal catered by the American Legion Post 147, along with an annual DU membership. However, ticket availability is limited and everyone is encouraged to purchase them ahead of time. Advance tickets are available from any of the following: Frank Parker 997-6400; Jim Barbee 997-1091 or Gary Payne 417-7570.
Ducks Unlimited got its start in 1937 during the Dust Bowl when North America’s drought-plagued waterfowl populations had plunged to unprecedented lows. Determined not to sit by idly as the continent’s waterfowl dwindled beyond recovery, a small group of sportsmen joined together to form an organization that became known as Ducks Unlimited. Its mission: habitat conservation.
After decades of abiding by that single mission, Ducks Unlimited is now the world’s largest and most effective private waterfowl and wetlands conservation organization. As of Jan. 1, 2012, the organization has conserved 4,531,563 acres in the U.S. alone. Ducks Unlimited is a grassroots, volunteer-based organization. Its members are conservationists and outdoor enthusiasts who live throughout the United States, Canada and Mexico.
— Staff Writer Cassidy Odom can be reached at 910-997-3111, ext. 16, or by email at firstname.lastname@example.org.