DU’s County chapter revitalized

11 years ago

DU’s County chapter revitalized

By Kathy McCarty
Staff Writer

    Efforts to revitalize interest in preserving natural habitat for ducks and other waterfowl has increased in the past year, according to Kevin Schumacher, director of the local chapter of Ducks Unlimited.

Staff photo/Kathy McCarty

    KEVIN SCHUMACHER and his daughter, Kyra, served as hosts for this year’s Ducks Unlimited dinner and auction, held earlier this fall at the Northeastland in Presque Isle. Schumacher, of Washburn, currently serves as director of the local chapter. The organization works to preserve wetlands to ensure habitat for waterfowl, among other things.


    “In 2012 I was asked by the regional director of Ducks Unlimited to help renew interest in the Aroostook chapter. Last year, we had to quickly organize a dinner and banquet. It was necessary to do that to keep the Aroostook chapter on the national registry for DU. The quick banquet date and the fact we had it in the summer threw some members off and we only had 13 people show up,” said Schumacher.
    Schumacher, an avid duck hunter, said it was important to continue efforts to keep the chapter alive, since DU has been instrumental in helping preserve the wetlands these birds love, thus ensuring hunters have ample flocks to pursue come hunting season. He said this year saw a better turnout.
     “The 2013 banquet held earlier this fall at the Northeastland Hotel was a success. We had 53 people show up for the banquet and auction. We had a great dinner and auction, with great raffle prizes including shotguns, framed limited edition wildlife prints, signed carved ducks and goose decoys, as well as many other great items,” said Schumacher.
    “We were also supported by local businesses, like Wilder’s, who donated items for our auction. We were able to raise a little over $6,000 for DU,” Schumacher continued.
    Schumacher said the Aroostook DU supports wetland conservation and wildlife habitat by raising money through the banquets and other functions.
    “The money we raise is sent to the national DU where it is distributed throughout Maine and the rest of the country to support wetland projects and conservation,” he said.
    The organization has a strong membership here in Maine.
    “In Maine we have 2,169 members and last year we raised $557,323 that went toward conserving 16,397 acres of critical wetlands throughout the state. Ducks Unlimited has conserved more than 13 million acres of waterfowl habitat across North America. DU has been the leader in the fight for conservation since 1937,” Schumacher said.
    Schumacher said many people don’t realize DU is not just about preserving the heritage of waterfowl hunting.
    “It’s about conservation and the protection of our precious wetlands and helps in restoring grasslands, replanting forests, restoring watersheds and working with landowners in acquiring land for conservation easements. So whether you’re a hunter, birdwatcher, wildlife photographer, conservationist or just like to drink clean, safe water, you should be involved in DU,” said Schumacher.
    He said he’s pleased to see local people’s enthusiasm for the organization growing.
    “I am happy to say that members of Aroostook Ducks Unlimited are getting excited again in their chapter. I have been getting many calls and e-mails, with suggestions on what Aroostook DU could do throughout the year. One member said he would like to see chapter members getting together for a chapter duck hunt,” said Schumacher.
    Plans are already under way for next year. He’d like to see children more involved as well.
    “In 2014, I would like to see the schools and children more involved by having them help build duck nest boxes and at the same time learn about wetland conservation. I am also working on possibly assisting in duck banding projects throughout Aroostook and would like to see members and children involved,” said Schumacher. “Another member suggested a barbecue during the summer to get together and have games for the kids. I think this is a great idea.”
    If you have any questions regarding the fund-raising efforts of Aroostook Ducks Unlimited or would like tovolunteer and be more involved in wetland conservation, call Schumacher at 227-8895 or e-mail woolytrapper@hotmail.com.