Looking for conservation nominations

This year, Ducks Unlimited has opened the nomination process to the wider public

Ducks Unlimited wants to award a local individual or group for their wetland conservation work.

The Oceanside Chapter of Ducks Unlimited have recognized “outstanding leadership, dedication, commitment and achievement by individuals or organizations to the conservation of wetlands and habitat,” for years said co-chair John Hiebert.

This year they decided to throw the nomination process open to the public and are looking for ideas from the community.

“Past recipients include Mr. Peter Redford for his work at the Marion Baker Fish Hatchery and last year’s award-winner, Ms. Faye Smith for her service with Streamkeepers, the Mid-Vancouver Island Habitat Enhancement Society and many other groups working to conserve wetlands,” he said.

Ducks Unlimited has been in the area since 1984 and has more than 110,000 supporters across the country. A registered charity, they work with government, industry, landowners and other non-profits to conserve wetland for waterfowl, wildlife and the environment.

They have completed almost 10,000 habitat projects and conserved 6.4 million acres, including more than a dozen in the Parksville Qualicum Beach region, six in the Englishman River estuary alone.

“In settled areas of Canada, up to 70 per cent of wetlands are lost or degraded,” Hiebert said. “Every day, up to 80 acres of wetlands are lost. This is the equivalent of about 45 soccer fields every 24 hours.”

Nominations close Oct. 27 and the Community Wetlands Conservation Award will be presented at the Ducks Unlimited 2015 Chapter Banquet at the Qualicum Beach Civic Centre on Saturday, November 7, with a reception starting at 5:30 p.m. followed by a great meal, wine, live and silent auctions and exciting raffle packages. Tickets to the 28th annual gala, which raises $40 to $50,000 a year are $75.

They are looking for nominees that have worked on physical projects, programs or education increasing public awareness and understanding of the value of wetland ecosystems.

Winners of the local award are also entered in the Premiers Conservation Award competition each spring. For tickets, nomination forms and more information contact Hiebert at jhiebert@feathercatch.com (corrected) or 250-752-6632. Look them up on Facebook for more.