Local duck conservation group receives national recognition

The Murray State division of Ducks Unlimited (DU), a duck conservation group, received an award Saturday, March 31 at the 31st Kentucky Ducks Unlimited State Awards Banquet in Cadiz, Ky.

The Murray State chapter raised 21,200 in proceeds to assist DU in continuing to preserve wetlands and ensure their place in the DU’s National Sweet 16.

According to Ducks.org, the main mission for the group is to conserve, reserve, and manage wetland and associated habitats for waterfowl, which also benefit other wildlife and people.

Charlie McKinney, the district 2 chairmen for the Kentucky chapter of DU, said the University’s chapter earned the award by raising not only money for the conservation group but also raising state expectations.

“The Murray State chapter turned in the most net money to the group, which was the highest amount ever raised by any college in the state,” he said.

McKinney said the University took the top spot from Western Kentucky University, who has maintained the title for the past seven years.

The money the University chapter raised will mostly go to continue on DU’s goal of conserving and reclaiming the wetlands, such as the northern prairie region of Canada.

McKinney said about 10 percent of the funds turned in by Murray State will stay in Kentucky for future regional projects such as a planned event in the Ballard Wildlife area.

Ducks Unlimited, the world’s leader in wetlands and waterfowl conservation, was started in 1937 when a small group of sportsmen meet after the North American Dust Bowl decreased the waterfowl population to low numbers.

The group has preserved 12,700 acres of waterfowl habitats in Kentucky alone. The organization has active conservation groups in the 48 continental states.

Kristan Muir, a pre-vet major from Shepardsville, Ky, said the group was providing a great example of how different conservation groups have an impact to the wildlife around the University.

“I think they do deserve the award for they are going to use that money to continue their work in making sure the beautiful wildlife surrounding Murray State is preserved for years to come, she said.

Pamela Taylor, a volunteer in the duck conservation organization, said another main goal of the group to promote funds to aid further programs ran by DU.

“Ducks Unlimited is an organization that basically raises money to help the duck,” she said. “Ideally, we help preserve the wetlands to help with the duck conservation.”

Taylor, a manager at CDM Construction, said the group recently celebrated the Ducks Unlimited convention in the Barkley Lodge in Cadiz, Ky.

She said the group has two dinners planned, one in Simpson County on April 14 and another for the Louisville-south group, which will celebrate the 75th anniversary dinner, on April 20th.

There are two ways volunteers can sign up to assist in the organization, Taylor said. Those interested can either go online to Ducks.org and sign up online or attend one of the local dinners.

The group also has future conventions planned for Portland, Oregon in 2013, in St. Louis, Missouri for 2014, Milwaukee, Wisconsin in 2015 and in Alaska for 2016.