Camp Leopold & the South Carolina Waterfowl Association Announce Partnership with Dominion Energy: Outdoor Education Experience for Columbia Area Youth

Camp Leopold & the South Carolina Waterfowl Association Announce Partnership with Dominion Energy: Outdoor Education Experience for Columbia Area Youth

Pinewood, SC (September 20th, 2022) – 

Camp Leopold and the South Carolina Waterfowl Association (SCWA) are grateful to announce a partnership with Dominion Energy. Dominion Energy has pledged $50,000 in support to provide multi-day outdoor education experiences to over 5,000 students within Dominion Energy service territories throughout South Carolina. The funding, which is reserved for students enrolled in Title I schools, will engage participants in hands-on, STEM-based classes that focus on the field of conservation. Students can expect an immersive experience in which they will become familiar with many of the diverse plants and animals of the Southeast, in addition to learning wise management techniques of these natural resources.  

“From the mountains to the sea, South Carolina’s abundant natural resources help to make our state the unique and special place we call home,” said Keller Kissam, president of Dominion Energy South Carolina. “We are proud to partner with the Waterfowl Association to help plant the seed of environmental stewardship in our next generation of South Carolinians as they grow to appreciate our natural wonders and preserve these resources for years to come.”

The main objective is for each student to leave Camp Leopold with a heightened awareness of the natural world. “Dominion Energy has been a long-time supporter of Camp Leopold and has been instrumental in helping to build our education program. Their dedication to supporting youth conservation education is a strong testament to the virtues of the corporation”, said SCWA Executive Director David Wielicki. Camp Leopold and the South Carolina Waterfowl Association are grateful to partner with sponsors like Dominion Energy, as their support is imperative to providing outdoor education opportunities to students who would otherwise be unable to attend.

The South Carolina Waterfowl Association is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization that exists to enhance and perpetuate South Carolina’s wildlife heritage through education and habitat conservation.

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Media Contact:

Maria Hackney

Communications Director

communications@scwa.org

(803) 825-8078

Tom Cucinotta graduates from the Gary Dietrich Wildlife Management Apprentice Program

Tom Cucinotta became a part of the Gary Dietrich Wildlife Management Apprenticeship Program at SCWA in August of 2020. He has recently accepted a position in Mandeville Island, California as a Waterfowl and Habitat Manager. Tom tells all about his experience at SCWA in the letter below. We wish him the best!

“I first joined SCWA as a naturalist for Camp Leopold 5 years ago shortly after receiving a wildlife management degree from West Virginia University. During my time there, I was introduced to duck hunting by my co-workers. I became addicted. I then spent my first season chasing wood ducks in Hickory Top WMA and guiding hunts for SCWA.

From that point on, I knew that I would work in the world of waterfowl. It took me all over the country to places like North Dakota, Colorado, New York, Oklahoma and New Jersey. I started by conducting waterfowl research for state and non-profit agencies, and after many years of travel and enjoying the journey, I knew that I had to make a transition to make a life long career in the field. I had pondered pursuing a masters degree to become a biologist, and while starting the application process to schools, I remembered the Gary Dietrich Wildlife Management Apprentice Program. When I was working for Camp Leopold, I realized everyone that finished the program found incredible positions at various locations. I then knew I needed to go back, and upon reaching out to JP, the Habitat Manager at the time, he asked me ‘how soon can you get here?’ I packed up from Oklahoma and headed back to the place I once called home. 

The past 2 years have been some of the most challenging but satisfying times of my life. Learning the ins and outs of running a duck club and manipulating habitats to achieve desired outcomes has been a very rewarding experience. This place can teach you many things, but above all, it taught me that if you have a positive outlook and drive to learn and work hard, great things can happen, and they have. I will be moving on from SCWA with a boat load of memories and many great friends to become the Waterfowl and Habitat Manager in Mandeville Island, California. It is a dream come true, and I am forever grateful to the great people I’ve met here that helped me along the way.” (Tom Cucinotta)

Join a South Carolina Waterfowl Association Chapter Banquet and Make a Difference for Local Youth

Pinewood, SC (November 2nd, 2022) – The South Carolina Waterfowl Association has just begun its annual banquet season, which helps to raise funds for Camp Woodie, SCWA’s summer camp program. The state of South Carolina consists of 46 counties and currently is comprised of 30 SCWA Chapters with over 500 volunteers. The South Carolina Waterfowl Association is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization that exists to enhance and perpetuate South Carolina’s wildlife heritage through education and habitat conservation. 

SCWA chapter volunteers and staff host a yearly banquet or conservation dinner designed to raise funds for Camp Woodie, SCWA’s summer camp program. Throughout the year, chapters and volunteers host a variety of events in addition to their annual functions. Most have developed programs and fundraisers designed to involve volunteers and local communities in hands-on waterfowl and wetland conservation work. Some chapters enjoy hosting fishing tournaments, 10-gun raffles, frog gigging tournaments, a last-man-standing competition, bourbon raffles, and field trials to name a few. These efforts are aimed at generating local results with the hopes to help achieve SCWA’s mission to conserve, enhance and perpetuate our waterfowl heritage. 

Mac Bagnal, the Director of Chapter Development, has been a part of chapter development since 2004. Mac says, “I enjoy taking chapter members and volunteers to our Wildlife Education Center so they can see where and how the money raised is being used. The money goes towards program funding or the infrastructure to build educational activities and locations to teach the principles of conservation and our mission to the next set of outdoorsmen. It’s moments like seeing a child explore the center and finding their love for the outdoors that drives my passion and the volunteers to continue to raise funds to send over 150 kids to Camp Woodie each summer, and the reason why I continue in my line of work.”

If you are interested in attending a South Carolina Waterfowl Association chapter event and/or joining the chapter closest to you, please click here to learn more. 

The South Carolina Waterfowl Association is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization that exists to enhance and perpetuate South Carolina’s wildlife heritage through education and habitat conservation.

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Media Contact:

Maria Hackney

Communications Director

communications@scwa.org

(803) 825-8078

Camp Leopold Kicks Off the 2022-2023 School Year

Pinewood, SC (October 3rd, 2022) – Camp Leopold has officially geared up for the start of a new school year. Camp Leopold is named after Aldo Leopold, who is recognized as the father of wildlife conservation and management. Camp activities are designed to provide a creative outdoor classroom focusing on wildlife, wetland and upland ecology. The Camp Leopold curriculum is uniquely designed to help students and teachers achieve academic standards in science, reading and math through hands-on outdoor education.

Classes and activities for Camp Leopold are designed to cover a wide range of environmental topics highlighting the natural and man-made resources students and teachers will discover. Combining the observation techniques of Aldo Leopold with the rich flora and fauna of Camp Leopold provides a unique opportunity to enrich learning and spark a desire for students to discover the land and its inhabitants. Camp Leopold classes are divided into three separate emphasis areas to achieve these goals: Social-Emotional Learning Emphasis, Nature Exploration Emphasis, and Applied Science Emphasis. 


The main objective is for each student to leave Camp Leopold with a heightened awareness of the natural world. “It has been amazing having so many students back onsite this year! Seeing kids gain their confidence as outdoors explorers is always so rewarding. This past week, for example, I asked a young student what her favorite outdoor thing to explore was, and she meekly replied with ‘I don’t think I have one.’ I was able to catch her before she boarded the bus later that day, and she proudly told me about how much she enjoyed our Forest Ecology class and how leaves are now her favorite outdoor thing to explore. In just one day, this student’s passion for exploring the outdoors was encouraged, and hopefully will continue to burn long after they leave our camp!”, said Camp Leopold Director Abby Zabrodsky. Camp Leopold and the South Carolina Waterfowl Association are excited to host students this coming school year once again.

The South Carolina Waterfowl Association is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization that exists to enhance and perpetuate South Carolina’s wildlife heritage through education and habitat conservation.

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Media Contact:

Maria Hackney

Communications Director

communications@scwa.org

(803) 825-8078

Camp Woodie Welcomed Highest Number of Campers Ever with 1520 Campers in 2022; 2023 Registration is Now Open!

Pinewood, SC (September 2, 2022) In 2022, South Carolina Waterfowl Association’s youth education and wildlife conservation camp, Camp Woodie, saw impressive growth in camper attendance over the 10-week camp schedule. Knowing demand is high, Camp Woodie is opening camp registration for 2023 early. Take advantage of preferred camp weeks by registering at https://wildlifeedcenter.org/camp-woodie/.

In 2022, more than 1,500 campers experienced amazing outdoor activities, overseen by certified camp counselors, from shotgun sports, archery, fishing, canoeing and much more.

Additionally, hundreds of campers received their SCDNR Hunter’s Safety Certification while at camp at no extra charge over the summer.

“Along with developing our next generation of outdoorsmen and women, the benefits of a child attending Camp Woodie are developing lifelong friendships, time unplugging from screens, connection with nature, and our experience fosters confidence development and teaches teamwork.” DuValle Elliott, SCWA’s Chief Education Program Officer. 

After experiencing COVID restrictions for camps in 2020 and 2021, Camp Woodie experienced record sign-ups in 2022 and even had more than 600 campers on a waiting list. 

About Camp Woodie:

Camp Woodie was established by the South Carolina Waterfowl Association in 1995. The mission of Camp Woodie is to pass on our wildlife heritage to the next generation. Camp Woodie is achieving its mission with the help of expert staff and instructors who deliver hands-on, fun-filled education to the next generation of outdoorsmen and women.

The South Carolina Waterfowl Association is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization that exists to enhance and perpetuate South Carolina’s wildlife heritage through education and habitat conservation.

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Media Contact:

Maria Hackney

communications@scwa.org

(803) 825-8078

The Gary Dietrich Wildlife Management Apprentice Program is hiring!

Welcome, Macie Elliott & Tangie McFee! The Gary Dietrich Wildlife Management Apprentice Program is excited to have our first two female apprentices! Are you interested in joining?

The Gary Dietrich Wildlife Management Apprentice Program is a 2-year graduate program with the goal of improving habitat management throughout the Southeast. Candidates who have completed a 2-year or 4-year degree are able to participate in hands-on wildlife, fisheries, and natural resource management skills. Through the implementation of a quality curriculum, expert instructors, and a host of industry and landowner partners, we are equipping apprentices with the training and on-the-job experience needed to provide quality wildlife management on public and private lands. This program is a great place to kick-start your career. Through SCWA and our partners, we have successfully placed one hundred percent of our Apprentices in desired wildlife-related jobs. If you are interested, please send your resume to Jonathan Patrick (jonathan@scwa.org) or call our office for more information (803) 452-6001.

Macie Elliott
Tangie McFee

Camp Leopold Receives $30,000 from the Bass Pro & Cabela’s Outdoor Fund

PINEWOOD, S.C. (July 4, 2022) – A grant from the Bass Pro Shops and Cabela’s Outdoor Fund will allow the South Carolina Waterfowl Association (SCWA) to host nearly 1,000 students at Camp Leopold this coming school year.

The $30,000 scholarship program will allow more than 750 students throughout South Carolina to enjoy a field trip with their classmates at Camp Leopold’s Wildlife Education Center in Pinewood. This funding has been reserved for students from Title I schools, who may not have access to outdoor spaces easily available.  

“With every visit, we continue to see the positive impact that SCWA Education Programs have on youth and their families,” said Val Elliott, Chief of Education Programs at SCWA. “We sincerely appreciate the support of Bass Pro Shops. This partnership allows us to continue to positively impact more children.”

While at Camp Leopold, students can expect a wide array of activities throughout the sprawling ecosystems of the Wildlife Education Center. Covering right at 1,000 acres, the Center contains mixed hardwood forest, wetland, and agricultural habitats. Using a hands-on, STEM-based approach, students are surrounded in the environments they learn about in biology class at their schools. Many classes offer an opportunity for students to have an up-close encounter with native wildlife, including various species of waterfowl, turtles, and snakes.  

“We are proud to partner with Camp Leopold and South Carolina Waterfowl Association,” said Bob Ziehmer, Senior Director of Conservation for Bass Pro Shops. “Our efforts are providing immersive conservation-focused educational opportunities for youth. Working together, we are creating the next generation of outdoor stewards.”

Camp Leopold and the South Carolina Waterfowl Association are grateful for our partnership with Bass Pro Shops and Cabela’s, as it enables us to ensure outdoor education opportunities continue to be accessible for students. 

“The South Carolina Waterfowl Association is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization that exists to enhance and perpetuate South Carolina’s wildlife heritage through education and habitat conservation.”

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Media Contact:

Maria Hackney

South Carolina Waterfowl Association 

Communications Director

communications@scwa.org

(803) 825-8078

Camp Leopold & the South Carolina Waterfowl Association Announce Support from the Honda USA Foundation

Pinewood, SC (July 18th, 2022) – Camp Leopold and the South Carolina Waterfowl Association are pleased to announce a partnership with the Honda USA Foundation. This initiative provides $30,000 in support to provide multi-day outdoor education experiences to over 200 students in the Darlington and Florence areas of South Carolina. While at Camp Leopold, participating students will be engaged in hands-on, STEM-based classes that focus on the field of conservation. An immersive, experiential learning approach teaches students about many of the specific plants and animals of the Southeast, some of whom they will get to meet up close! Students will learn about the role these organisms serve from a big-picture, ecosystem perspective. The goal is for each student to leave Camp Leopold with a heightened awareness of the natural world. 

Camp Leopold and the South Carolina Waterfowl Association are grateful to partner with sponsors like the Honda USA Foundation, as their support is essential in providing outdoor education opportunities to students who would otherwise be unable to attend. Corporate partnerships allow Camp Leopold to continue to create an ecologically literate citizenry by heightening student awareness of the natural world, fine-tuning the skills necessary to read the landscape, and instilling a love, respect, and admiration for the land so that each individual might develop a personal land ethic.

About Honda Corporate Social Responsibility and the Honda USA Foundation

For more than 60 years in the U.S., Honda has been committed to making positive contributions to the communities where its associates live and work. Honda’s mission is to create products and services that help people fulfill their life’s potential, while conducting business in a sustainable manner and fostering a diverse and inclusive workplace. Advancing its corporate social responsibility, Honda and the Honda USA Foundation support this direction through giving focused on education, the environment, mobility, traffic safety and community. Learn more at http://csr.honda.com/.

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Media Contact:

Maria Hackney

Communications Director

communications@scwa.org

(803) 825-8078

Duke Energy to Continue Scholarship Initiative for Camp Leopold & the South Carolina Waterfowl Association

PINEWOOD, S.C. (July 7th, 2022) – 

A grant from the Duke Energy Foundation will allow the South Carolina Waterfowl Association to bring hundreds of students to Camp Leopold this school year to encourage ecological literacy in students through hands-on outdoor education.

The $20,000 scholarship program will allow more than 500 students throughout Duke Energy’s service territories to spend three days and two nights at Camp Leopold’s Wildlife Education Center in Pinewood. Reserved primarily for students attending Title I schools, this funding will allow for unique, experiential learning opportunities in conservation education.  

“As students transition back to a normal routine post-pandemic, it’s important to remember that there were many experiences that they missed due to the lockdown and field trip restrictions,” said Joe Gonzalez, director of sales and marketing for Camp Leopold. “This field trip will not only benefit students academically, but the tangible benefits to the emotional, mental and physical health of participants are an equally important part of the objective of this partnership.”

While attending Camp Leopold, students will be immersed in the ecosystems they learn about in science class, getting a first-hand look at some of the plants and animals that inhabit their state.  Exploring the relationships between living things and understanding the importance of conservation principles- many of which students can adopt in their everyday lives- are cornerstones of the Camp Leopold program.

“We think that it is important to invest in local organizations to protect the environment and ensure future generations enjoy the natural beauty of South Carolina,” said Theo Lane, district manager for Duke Energy. “Through our support of Camp Leopold, we are able to expose young people to nature and ensure equitable access to educational and enriching programs in the communities we serve.” 

Camp Leopold and the South Carolina Waterfowl Association have a long-standing partnership with Duke Energy to ensure outdoor education opportunities are accessible for students. Their collaboration allows the program to continually provide invaluable interactions between children and nature.

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Media Contact:

Maria Hackney

communications@scwa.org

(803) 825-8078

The Gary Dietrich Wildlife Management Apprentice Program: Mason Briggs

The Gary Dietrich Wildlife Management Apprentice Program is a 2-year program with a goal of improving habitat management throughout the Southeast. Candidates who have completed a 2-year or 4-year degree can come to learn hands-on wildlife, fisheries, and natural resource management skills. Through the implementation of a quality curriculum, expert instructors, and a host of industry and landowner partners, we are equipping apprentices with the training and on-the-job experience needed to provide quality wildlife management on public and private lands. We are working to grow this program to 10-12 annual graduates. SCWA also assists in placing each graduate in a quality wildlife conservation job. Most recently, Mason Briggs has graduated and taken a position at Orton Plantation in North Carolina.

“Before coming to the South Carolina Waterfowl Association, I studied Biology at the Virginia Military Institute and worked on a small hay farm in Winston-Salem, North Carolina. I really wanted to find a way to merge my passion for the outdoors, use my degree, and learn how to manage habitat. The Gary Dietrich Apprenticeship Program was a great way to accomplish all my goals. I learned many skills while at SCWA and was allowed to guide many hunts which was a great experience. The Apprenticeship Program also allowed me to work with many private landowners and see how a variety of plantations operated. I am thankful to SCWA for giving me the educational opportunities as I recently took a position at Orton Plantation in Winnabow, North Carolina.” (Mason Briggs) 

We wish Mason many years of success with his new position.