Youngsters learn importance of conservation, build duck nests

By Cory Smith • Last Updated 10:48 am on Tuesday, January 07, 2014

A total of 29 children, along with their parents, spent Saturday morning at Big L Lumber in Greenville building their own wood duck nest boxes to take home. — Daily News/Cory Smith

GREENVILLE — Duck hunting season may be a long way off, but that didn’t quell the excitement of a group of children as they pieced together their very own wood duck nesting boxes.

A total of 29 children, from as far south as Paw Paw and as north as Newaygo, spent their Saturday morning at Big L Lumber in Greenville where they were lectured on the importance of duck conservation.

Kaegen Hopkins of Stanton, 11, of Stanton, carries his new wood duck nest box that he built at Big L Lumber in Greenville during Saturday’s event sponsored by Ducks Unlimited. — Daily News/Cory Smith

After listening to several presentations, the youngsters and their parents worked together to build the boxes and learned that conservation of habitats for waterfowl is an important step in protecting the species.

“Everyone thinks Ducks Unlimited is just about hunting, but it’s about the conservation, that’s why we do these fundraisers,” said Max Lehman, area chairman for Ducks Unlimited and owner of Big L Lumber. “This was a fun way to get the kids excited.”

The three-hour session included messages from members of Ducks Unlimited who informed the children about the biology of wood ducks, as well as the importance of conservation of their habitats.

Peter Wyckoff, an engineer on Ducks Unlimited’s Great Lakes/Atlantic Regional Office conservation team, said the children were very receptive of his message.

“We want to make sure that we have wood ducks in the future, so it’s important to have these opportunities for kids to engage in the conservation of wood ducks,” Wyckoff said. “They listened very intently and were very excited to build their boxes.”

Kaegen Hopkins, 11, of Stanton, said he was excited to take his box home, hoping to create a habitat on his own property for wood ducks.

“I learned today that they like to live in a tree away from other ducks,” he said. “I plan on putting mine near our pond.”

Hopkins said he enjoys hunting ducks in the autumn, specifically because he has the opportunity to do so with his father.

“I’ve been hunting with my dad for the past three years,” he said. “We have fun.”

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