Area sportsmen should plan to attend the Greater Piedmont chapter of the South Carolina Waterfowl Association’s annual fundraising dinner on Sept. 26.
This year’s venue is Events at Manchester – just down the hill from the Manchester theater complex – and doors open at 6p.m. Tickets are $50 for a single or $75 for a couple. Sponsor’s tickets are $250, which includes a sponsor membership and two couples tickets, and a $500 sponsor’s ticket gets a corporate sponsor’s membership and a reserved table for ten.
All tickets include an open bar, dinner, and an opportunity to participate in live and silent auctions, raffles, drawings for door prizes, and the simple joy of fellowship with fellow sportsmen.
The saga of the South Carolina Waterfowl Association is one of striking success. In its 27th year the association has worked wonders for waterfowl of the Palmetto State.
In that time period some 21,500 nesting boxes for wood ducks and been installed at lakes and ponds across the state. They have resulted in the production of close to a million woodies.
The association has created a nationally recognized youth wildlife education camp, Camp Woodie, on the site of its 410-acre education center. More than 70,000 youngsters have been introduced to the basics of conservation in a fun-filled learning environment. Hundreds of landowners have received assistance in managing and improving their wetlands.
Begun with a focus on wood ducks –unlike most waterfowl, they are not migratory – the program was so successful it expanded to an ongoing program of released mallards.
Between released mallards and naturally reproducing wood ducks, each year the association adds close to 100,000 waterfowl to the state’s population.
It is an organization which is of great benefit to the state’s sportsmen, and as a delightful bonus, songbirds often use the nesting boxes and benefit from the management programs. Small wonder that the association is now the second largest state waterfowl organization in the country, something that says a lot about vision and mission fulfillment when one considers that South Carolina is a comparatively small state both geographically and population-wise.
The key factor in its success is the combination of passion, commitment, and volunteerism. From the founder, David Wielicki, down to dozens of dedicated local volunteers, there has always been a sense of mission, and in this case – not always true of conservation initiatives – that mission has been one of fulfillment.
Among the items for auction this year are a solid selection of hunting guns, guided trips, art work, and donations by local businesses and individuals.
Additionally, the association has an annual auction package of items which leaders feel will be appealing to sportsmen and women. Among those items this year are a decorative Afghan, a week for a youngster at Camp Woodie, a lovely handcrafted cypress food tray, prints, a set of camouflage duffel bags, a top-grade hunting knife with a custom leather belt sheath, a collectible hand-carved decoy with stand, and a variety of gear and accessories for the outdoorsman.
I look forward to camaraderie and conservation awareness offered by this annual event, and it’s always comforting to know that along with fine and pleasant fellowship one is doing something positive for the natural world and the perpetuation of America’s grand hunting tradition.