Bentley Pontoons and Suzuki donate pontoon boat and motor

Bentley Pontoons and Suzuki donate pontoon boat and motor

On May 31, 2019, Bentley Pontoons Corporation donated a 2019 Bentley Model 180 fish pontoon boat to the South Carolina Waterfowl Association. Suzuki also donated a 2019 40-hp 4-stroke outboard motor to power the boat. The boat and motor will be enjoyed by over 4,000 children who annually attend Camp Woodie (summer camp) and Camp Leopold (school year camp) at SCWA’s 978-acre Wildlife Education Center. While on the new boat, campers will enjoy fishing and wildlife viewing and will learn about boating safety from expert adult instructors.

According to Bentley CEO Ryan Marcott, “The Bentley Pontoons team is excited to provide this boat to help the SCWA Camp Woodie and Camp Leopold programs. Camp Woodie and Camp Leopold are dedicated to passing on the legacy of our outdoor heritage. All of us at Bentley Pontoons support this mission of reconnecting youth and their families to the outdoors, while developing a conservation ethic among our youth.”

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When Curt Bridges, Suzuki District Sales Manager, received a call from Ryan about the possible donation, Suzuki immediately committed their support by donating the motor. “Suzuki is proud to support the Camp Woodie and Camp Leopold programs, and we are excited about the positive impact both camps have on developing the next generation of conservationists.”

On behalf of the entire organization, we would like to extend our sincere appreciation to Bentley Pontoons and Suzuki for their support of SCWA’s education programs.

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Mike & Jennifer Smith fund waterfowl aviary for SCWA Wildlife Education Center

Mike & Jennifer Smith fund waterfowl aviary for SCWA Wildlife Education Center

The South Carolina Waterfowl Association (SCWA) is excited to announce we have received a very generous gift from Mike and Jennifer Smith. The donation will allow SCWA to construct a waterfowl aviary at the SCWA Wildlife Education Center, the home of Camp Woodie and Camp Leopold. SCWA broke ground on the new addition to the facility on May 8, 2019. The completion date goal for the project is September 1, 2019, just in time for the next Fall season of Camp Leopold.

The aviary will feature 40 species of ducks and geese living in an enclosed wetland habitat with observation deck and attached education room. The aviary will provide up close viewing of North American waterfowl species and hands-on waterfowl ecology classes to thousands of youth who annually attend Camp Woodie and Camp Leopold. According to SCWA Chief Executive Officer, David Wielicki, “This project will enhance the quality of our youth conservation education programs while becoming an education asset that will add momentum to the growth of both Camp Woodie and Camp Leopold.”

All of us at SCWA offer our sincere appreciation to Mike and Jennifer Smith for this tremendous donation. In honor of this gift and all of their past support, we will name this new addition the Mike and Jennifer Smith Waterfowl Aviary.

SCWA gains Chief Operations Officer, Val Elliott

SCWA gains Chief Operations Officer, Val Elliott

SCWA is excited to welcome Val Elliott as the Chief Operations Officer for the South Carolina Waterfowl Association. His duties include overseeing the day to day operations for SCWA, specifically SCWA’s youth education and habitat conservation programs.

Val Elliott began his career in the summer camp and outdoor education center field in 1989 as a camp counselor at Kanakuk-Kanakomo Kamps, one of the largest Christian sports camps in the world, located in Branson, Missouri. Val served there for two summers as a camp counselor and in the CIT director role. Upon graduating from The Citadel in 1991, Val took on the role of Program Director for Clemson University’s RM Cooper 4-H Leadership Center where he hired and trained staff and ran the day to day program operations. During this time, Val was also a part of a team who created the “Teaching KATE” outdoor education program. In 1995, Val moved into the Center Director role at RM Cooper where he oversaw all day to day operations, including summer camp, outdoor education, and conference groups.

In 2007, Val, his wife Elizabeth, and their five children (Emma, Lucas, Eliza, Ethan and Palmer) moved from RM Cooper to YMCA Camp Hanes, as Val became the Executive Director of YMCA Camp Hanes. YMCA Camp Hanes saw tremendous growth during his tenure, which included new summer camp partners, attendance growth in all programs, doubling the annual operating budget, quadrupling the annual giving campaign, and many site improvements, including a new retreat center, airnasium, shotgun range, equestrian center and a 5700 square-foot conference facility.

Val served on the American Camping Association Southeast section board and the SE Local Council of Leaders for over eight years. Val has been an accreditation standards visitor for over 20 years and is currently a standards instructor.

Val grew up locally in Summerton, fishing and hunting with his father on Lake Marion. According to SCWA Chief Executive Officer and Founder, David Wielicki, “The SCWA Board of Directors and I believe that Val’s connection to the area, as well as his passion for youth education and the outdoors will allow him to thrive in this organization. We believe that Val will be a vital part of growing and perfecting SCWA’s education and habitat conservation programs.”

First duck hunt at Boyd Camp proves a success

First duck hunt at Boyd Camp proves a success

Twelve groups of Camp Woodie parents and senior campers pulled up to the Boyd Camp site last night for a time of fun and fellowship around the fire pits before they settled down in their cabins for the night. This morning, the first duck hunt at Boyd Camp went off with a bang!

The hunters endured a rainy morning in the blinds and harvested several different species. Parents and campers came in with mallards, wood ducks, lesser scaup, and even a redhead! SCWA is thankful to be able to give parents and campers this opportunity to hunt alongside one another thanks to the Boyd Foundation. These parent/child hunts are creating moments for wildlife heritage to be passed on to the next generation.

Thank you so much to the parents, campers, hunt guides, and especially to the Boyd Foundation for making this opportunity possible.

Seven more Boyd Camp duck hunts are scheduled through the remainder of the season, and we look forward to seeing more parents and campers!

 

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SCWA Partners with Delta, UGA and USFWS on Ring-necked Research

SCWA Partners with Delta, UGA and USFWS on Ring-necked Research

The South Carolina Waterfowl Association has partnered with the Delta Waterfowl Foundation, the University of Georgia and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service to study the annual movements of ring-necked ducks that winter in South Carolina. The research project is part of a larger study that is also focusing on ring-necked ducks that winter in South Georgia.

Lead investigator for the project, Mark McConnell, Assistant Professor of Wildlife Outreach at the University of Georgia, and graduate student Tori Mezebish have been working on this research project since the 2016-2017 waterfowl hunting season. As evidenced by their hard work last week, McConnell reiterated, “We have put a tremendous amount of time, effort and resources into getting these birds captured and marked. It’s a fun project and could not be done without the incredible skill and dedication of our wildlife veterinarians.”

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Ring-necks are very important to South Carolina duck hunters. They consistently rank number 2, 3 or 4 in the annual South Carolina waterfowl harvest. From November 27-30th, 28 hens and 2 drakes were collected from the SCWA Black Dog duck pond and surgically implanted with satellite or GPS transmitters , 10 of which were funded by generous SCWA members. These radios will last for up to 10 months and will provide information on the movements and habitat preferences of ring-necked ducks throughout their wintering, spring migration, breeding and brood rearing portions of their annual life cycle.

McConnell relayed, “This research is both novel and important. We are the first ones to ever put an internal transmitter into a ring-necked duck. It is also important because we know very little about ring-necked duck’s wintering habitat use and migration strategies. We are hoping to learn what types of wetlands they prefer during winter. Migration is a crucial time of year for migratory waterfowl, so understanding their routes and stopover sites can inform managers on how to better provide quality waterfowl habitat during migration.”

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An intensive 22-25 hours of surgery were performed by Michele Goodman, Director of Veterinary Services for the Elmwood Park Zoo in Pennsylvania. When asked about what this opportunity means to her, Goodman communicated, “I enjoy participating in these projects for a number of reasons – implanting satellite transmitters is one of the most reliable ways to get good information on waterfowl movement and behavior which can ultimately lead to more targeted conservation initiatives. These projects are also a huge collaboration – I like working with graduate students, biologists and conservation organizations. As someone who spends most of my time working with captive animals, it’s also a tremendous privilege to get to work with wild birds.”

You will be able to track the movements of the ring-necks by visiting the Delta Waterfowl Foundation website here, and we hope to put the weekly updated movements on the SCWA website as well.

If you harvest one of these ducks, please save the duck and contact SCWA at (803) 452-6001 or USFWS at (803) 478-2217. The duck will be banded and have a short wire antenna sticking out of its back. Researchers would like to examine the body condition of any birds that are harvested by hunters to analyze if the radios have any negative effect on the body condition of the duck.

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SCWA’s “Camp Leopold” receives grant from Dominion Energy

SCWA’s “Camp Leopold” receives grant from Dominion Energy

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
July 5, 2018

Contact: Ed Paul
803.600.8977
epaul@scwa.org

The South Carolina Waterfowl Association’s “Camp Leopold” receives grant from Dominion Energy

Funding will provide an experiential learning field trip opportunity for students in Camp Leopold’s widely diverse ecosystem.

 

The South Carolina Waterfowl Association’s environmental education school-year program, “Camp Leopold,” has received a $10,000 Environmental Education and Stewardship Grant from the Dominion Energy Charitable Foundation, the non-profit arm of Dominion Energy.

The Camp Leopold environmental education camp program will host an additional 250 South Carolina students as they experience the environmental education field trip of a lifetime, thanks to Dominion Energy. The camp, managed by the South Carolina Waterfowl Association (SCWA), sits adjacent to beautiful Lake Marion near Pinewood, S.C. and consists of diverse wetlands and woodlots that combine to form a 568-acre outdoor classroom.

The grant from the Dominion Energy Foundation will provide 250 Camp Leopold scholarships to South Carolina public school students in grades 3-7 within Dominion Energy’s natural gas service areas. Starting in Fall 2018, the schools awarded scholarships will attend a 1-day session at Camp Leopold, where students will be introduced to a hands-on outdoor curriculum focused on South Carolina’s ecosystems, conservation, sustainability, and STEM education. The Camp Leopold program reconnects youth to the land, while helping to educate the future generations in conservation.

“Dominion Energy is thrilled to be able to support organizations like South Carolina Waterfowl Association in the important work they do for students and schools,” said Kristen Beckham, external affairs representative for Dominion Energy. “It’s especially meaningful to provide funding for transformational field trips, so more students can benefit from environmental education and hands-on science activities. These experiences, we believe, will help them learn the importance of protecting our state’s environment and natural resources.”

The Dominion/Camp Leopold Scholarship Fund will provide a 1-day field trip for up to 50 students. These scholarships are on a first come/first served basis. If a school is too far from the Camp Leopold facility for a 1-day session, a multiple day program will be available with partial funding through the partnership.

For more information on Camp Leopold or to book a field trip through the Dominion/Camp Leopold Scholarship Fund, contact Joe Gonzalez, Camp Leopold Director, via email at joe@scwa.org, or visit the program’s website at www.wildlifeedcenter.org.

About the South Carolina Waterfowl Association’s – Camp Leopold School-year program

The South Carolina Waterfowl Association (SCWA) exists to enhance and perpetuate South Carolina’s wildlife heritage through education and waterfowl habitat conservation. SCWA was founded in 1986 by Executive Director and waterfowl biologist, David Wielicki. SCWA is a nonprofit organization recognized under section 501-C3 of the internal revenue service code.

The SCWA Wildlife Education Center is a project of SCWA established in 1994. The Wildlife Education Center (WEC) operates three main programs. These include Camp Leopold, Camp Woodie and the WEC Wildlife Heritage Events. The mission of Camp Leopold is “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.” 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. The curriculum draws on aspects of the Leopold Education Project, Project Wet and Project Wild.

About Dominion Energy

Nearly 6 million customers in 19 states heat and cool their homes and power their businesses with electricity or natural gas from Dominion Energy (NYSE: D). The company’s record of reliable, safe and clean energy regularly places it among American’s most-admired utilities. One of the nation’s leading operators of solar energy, Dominion Energy is one of just three companies to have reduced carbon intensity by more than 40 percent since 2000.

Dominion Energy’s Environmental Education and Stewardship grants support a variety of initiatives that benefit schools, organizations and communities across the country. In 2018, Dominion Energy is awarding $1 million in grants to 129 organizations in 12 states working to improve natural spaces or encourage environmental stewardship. Since 2003, Dominion has donated nearly $32 million to a wide variety of environmental projects across its footprint. To learn more, please visit www.dominionenergy.com, Facebook or Twitter. To learn more about Dominion Energy’s growing presence in S.C., visit www.brighterenergyfuture.com.

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SCWA celebrates Boeing Corporation’s 5 years of Camp Leopold scholarship support

SCWA celebrates Boeing Corporation’s 5 years of Camp Leopold scholarship support

Since the year 2013, Boeing South Carolina has been a vital part of the success of SCWA’s Camp Leopold. The school year natural resource education program began in 2012 with the mission “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.” Corporations like Boeing are generous enough to provide the thousands of scholarships each school year that give South Carolina students the opportunity to attend Camp Leopold. Without corporate sponsors like Boeing, the large majority of Camp Leopold attendees would not be able to participate in the program.

From 2013-2017, Boeing has given Camp Leopold $150,000 to be distributed as scholarships to 3rd-7th grade students from Title One schools along the SC I-95 corridor. Adding in their contribution for 2018, Boeing has gifted $180,000 to Camp Leopold over the course of the last five years, a total of 4,500 scholarships. Camp Leopold is proud to be a partner of an innovative corporation that is dedicated to not only building a better tomorrow for the environment, but the next generation as well.

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Alice Drive Elementary

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Walker Gamble Elementary

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R.E. Davis Elementary

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Manning Primary