Thousands of dollars were raised for wetland conservation, restoration and education at the annual Shelburne County Ducks Unlimited (DU) lobster dinner and auction on Feb.23 at the Barrington and Area Lions Hall.
Support for the Shelburne County Ducks Unlimited Canada chapter, revived three years ago after a 25-year hiatus, has taken off with a vengeance.
Last year, for the first time, the Ducks Unlimited Wetland Field Trip education program was delivered in Shelburne County to the Grade 4 class at Forest Ridge Academy thanks to sponsorship at the annual dinner, and partnership with the Shelburne County ATV Association and the Woodlands Multi-use Association.
“It was the best field trip ever,” said Grade 4 teacher April Scott, whose class was sponsored last year to go on the excursion to the Sable River Trail wetland. “It was an awesome experience,” she said, adding the students “just loved being there. It was fun day.”
Achieving the milestone is “something our committee is very proud of,” said Katie Scott, DU education specialist and committee volunteer. “We want to make education a focus of our committee.”
This year, by the end of the Feb. 23 evening, three Grade 4 field trips had been sponsored.
Ducks Unlimited and local volunteers have also been busy on other fronts in Shelburne County over the past year, from building nesting boxes and bird banding projects to partnering with the provincial departments of Forestry and Environment in the Treasured Wetlands of Nova Scotia program. Shelburne County’s Swaine’s Bog is one of four wetlands in the province designated under the program.
The hard work and dedication of the chapter has been recognized with the Regional Most Improved Chapter of the Year award through Ducks Unlimited Canada Volunteer Champions Award program. The award was presented at the dinner.
Three members of the chapter were also recognized with awards. Frank Nickerson has been named Regional Volunteer of the Year. A volunteer with Ducks Unlimited Canada for 30 years Nickerson began volunteering with the immensely successful Shelburne County DU event in the 1980's. Over time as the committee became inactive, Nickerson joined the Southwestern N.S. DU committee in Yarmouth, volunteering there for years until the revival of the Shelburne County chapter three years ago, where he played a “major role in it's re-invention.”
Also receiving an award was Nickerson’s brother and sister-in-law Richard and Racheal Nickerson, who were named Rookie Volunteers of the Year for the region. Recruited by Frank, the couple joined the Shelburne County Chapter in 2017. “They both stepped up to the plate ready to go. They worked hard during the first year to secure donations for the event, attended regular meetings and helped out tremendously during the busy event,” reads their nomination.