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Delta Waterfowl honored in North Carolina

BISMARCK, N.D. – From support of conservation programs to waterfowl hunter recruitment to hunter advocacy, Delta Waterfowl volunteers in North Carolina tirelessly hold true to the organization’s mission. Now, that hard work and dedication is being recognized with a prestigious award.
The North Carolina Wildlife Federation has chosen the state’s Delta Waterfowl chapters as the Conservation Organization of the Year. The honor will be presented Sept. 7 during the 2013 NCWF Governor’s Conservation Achievement Awards banquet in Cary, N.C.
“We recognized that Delta Waterfowl is so engaging for the rank-and-file duck hunters, and proactive in inspiring their membership to mentor a new generation of hunters,” said Eddie Nickens, chairman for the NCWF awards. “We’re really impressed by that.”
In it’s 50th year, the awards spotlight individuals, governmental bodies, associations and others who have exhibited an unwavering commitment to conservation in North Carolina.
“This is a huge deal. It proves Delta is on the minds of folks in North Carolina,” said Chris Williams, Delta Waterfowl’s Atlantic Coast regional director. “It’s become a widely known fact around here that we will go to bat for conservation and duck hunters.”
When a tradition of waterfowl hunting was recently threatened on their home water, Lake Norman Chapter members immediately sprang into action. With the guidance of Williams and John Devney, Delta’s vice president of U.S. Policy, the chapter influenced legislation that safeguarded historical Lake Norman hunting areas.
Chapters take every opportunity to spread waterfowl knowledge and recruit new hunters, too. Annually, chapter-run First Hunt and youth waterfowl events are common across the Tar Heel State. Last year, all North Carolina chapters helped host a special international hunt for wounded veterans, where six patriots from the United States and Canada were guided for a weeklong waterfowling experience.
“These folks have built a statewide organization (of chapters) from scratch, and it gives more and more hunters the opportunity to be involved in conservation. We’re very proud of that,” Nickens said. “Delta speaks to our core membership, which is sporting heritage and looking to the next generation. Duck hunting in North Carolina isn’t always easy, and that’s why we’re so excited to see people passionate about ducks, because you have to really want it to be a waterfowler in North Carolina.”
North Carolina chapters show that passion by hosting impressive banquets to generate the funds needed for such campaigns. The Triangle Delta Waterfowl chapter of Raleigh, N.C., ranked 15th overall for single-net income of an existing chapter, and was the top fundraising chapter in Williams’ entire region. Three new chapters – Coastal Carolina, of Bayboro, Sanoca Southern of Saratoga, and Lake Norman of Mooresville – were in the Top 25 for single net income, while Coastal Carolina had a net-gross over $20,000. To top it off, Lake Norman managed the impressive feat of holding not one, but two banquets in the chapter’s inaugural year.
“It’s not all about the dollars, but it’s all about the passion and commitment that those dollars represent. You don’t raise that kind of money without being deeply committed to the cause,” Nickens said.
For Williams, the award affirms the effort and spirit he sees from the state’s Delta volunteers and members.
“We have passionate people who drive home the message every day, and believe in the mission and vision of Delta Waterfowl,” he said. “The award is a reflection of the committees and the volunteers we have in North Carolina working day in and day out to conserve the future of waterfowl and waterfowl hunting.”
For more information: Jason Tharpe, vice president of events and membership, (888) 987-3695 ext. 221, jtharpe@deltawaterfowl.org.
Delta Waterfowl Foundation is a leading North American conservation organization, tracing its origins to the birth of the wildlife conservation movement in 1911. The Foundation supports research, provides leadership and offers science-based solutions to efficiently conserve waterfowl and secure the future of waterfowl hunting. Delta Waterfowl is based in Winnipeg, Manitoba, and Bismarck, N.D.

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