The Lake Ray Roberts Ducks Unlimited Chapter held their 1st Annual Banquet on Thursday evening, September 17, at the Redfearn Gym in Aubrey, Texas. Not only was it the inaugural banquet held by this newly formed DU chapter, but it was also the first DU banquet I have ever attended. The event featured live music, a catered meal by Dickey’s Bar-B-Q, door prizes, silent auction, live auction, and lots of raffle items.
As the world’s leader in wetlands and waterfowl conservation, Ducks Unlimited conserves, restores and manages wetlands and associated habitats for North America’s waterfowl. According to the DU website, as of January 1, 2009 over 12.6 million acres of habitat had been conserved in North America. DU works with private landowners as well as other public agencies to accomplish their mission of conservation through various management practices such as grassland restoration, forest replanting, and watershed restoration. The organization acquires land and easements to protect habitat as well as offering financial incentives to private landowners to manage their property for waterfowl.
While waterfowl may be the primary focus, these land management practices and restoration efforts play an important role in the survival of other wildlife species, as well as benefit the human population. Wetlands are a vital ecological feature that naturally filter water, provide flood protection, and prevent soil erosion. Wetlands also provide hunting and fishing opportunities for sportsmen across the country, which has a substantial effect on the economy.
Since this was my first DU event, I wasn’t sure what to expect. I kind of expected that there might be some type of speaker at the event that would give details on what DU projects were currently underway in our area, or possibly an informative presentation about a waterfowl-related topic. I'm sure the DU representatives on hand would have more than happily answered any questions, but I thought it would have been interesting to see pictures or a video of some of the conservation work going on. But, overall I was very impressed with the banquet and all of the merchandise which was either auctioned off or given away in drawings. There were lots of items up for grabs including several shotguns, hunting and fishing trips, wildlife art, dog training supplies, decoys, and even a chocolate lab puppy. While I didn’t walk away a big winner (I really wanted to win the package that included the Benelli shotgun, guided duck hunt, and free taxidermy mount) I had a great time and met some new people, including local DU Chairman, Luke Thorkildsen. Luke seems like a great guy, and it was evident that he put lots of hard work and effort into making the event a success. Although I’m not sure what the total dollar amount was, lots of money was raised at the event. All of the proceeds will be used by Ducks Unlimited to help conserve North America’s wetlands and enhance waterfowl habitat.
If you have never been to a DU banquet, visit the Ducks Unlimited website today, to find a local event in your area.