Founding DelVal’s Ducks Unlimited Chapter
Posted on August 19, 2014 by Kristin Ryerson ’15.
In September of 2012, I worked with Christopher Adams ’13 to start The Delaware Valley University Chapter of Ducks Unlimited. We worked with Delaware Valley College Assistant Professor of Biology Dr. Gregory George and Ducks Unlimited Regional Director Joe DeMartino to found the chapter. Ducks Unlimited is the world's leader in waterfowl and wetlands conservation. Ducks Unlimited has conserved more than 13 million acres of wetland habitat since 1937, and as a student chapter we were hoping we could help raise money to support their efforts and also help waterfowl populations on the local level.
In November 2013, the club had its first annual sportsman dinner, a banquet where we had many different kinds of raffles and auctions, and we were able to raise $5,000, all of which went straight to Ducks Unlimited National. In addition to this, we also have two other annual fundraisers, a merchandise fundraiser and also serving as a vendor at A-Day. These funds allow the club to work toward conserving local waterfowl populations. We do this through our wood duck box project. The club built six wood duck boxes last year that were donated from the PA Game Commission, and this fall and winter those boxes, plus three additional donated boxes, have been installed at Peace Valley Park, the Gemmill Farm and The Roth Center for Sustainable Agriculture. Wood duck boxes are used like any other bird box; wood ducks normally nest in trees, but as they have been losing suitable habitat, they chose to nest in other places that resemble tree cavities. The monitoring process has just begun and we hope to have many successful nests! This will be an ongoing research project, and throughout the years it will allow students to receive hands-on experience with surveying wildlife, data collection and observation. In the future we hope to be able to band the ducklings as well.
The club has also become very involved on campus, participating in Pride and Polish and also in Homecoming, where the club won first place for our float this year! At A-day this year, along with our merchandise sale, we had a waterfowl education station to educate children and adults with waterfowl ID games, explaining the importance of wood duck boxes and the overall necessity of wetland habitats.
In a very short time, the club has come an extremely far way and I couldn't be more proud! From the funds raised on a national level, to the conservation on a local level, and the education for students, teachers, faculty and the public alike, we have reached out to many and now others are beginning to reach out to us!
I can't wait to see what is in store for this very unique, enthusiastic and dedicated group of individuals that has accomplished so much all while being busy college students! Many of the club members are conservation wildlife management and environmental science or other related majors so being part of this nationally-recognized organization will also help them in their future endeavors.
Kristin Ryerson ’15