Waterfowl-Related Education Programs Receive 2018 Funding

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This year Waterfowl Chesapeake has chosen two conservation education programs on Delmarva as the focus of its 2018 Community in Conservation Match Campaign. “We are excited to offer a dollar for dollar match, up to $5,000, for two great ways to connect students with waterfowl issues,” says Executive Director Margaret Enloe. “We raised just over $1200 during Festival weekend through the generous support of artists and Festival guests. If we reach our goal by December 31, our community will help fully fund University of Delaware’s (UD) experiences for grad students and the Ward Museum’s program for Talbot County kindergarteners.”

UD’s field program “Promoting Waterfowl Hunter Education for New Adult Students” is aimed at better connecting today’s graduate students with tomorrow’s careers in Waterfowl Ecology. Many graduate students studying in this field have never had the experience of hunting. Yet these young adults are likely to become the future leaders in environmental resource management, with positions in academia, state agencies or federal service – all of whom must work with landowners and the hunting community. How can they communicate with the hunters and landowners if they have never had the experienced the sport? The program includes certification, education on waterfowl identification, policy, habitat management, value structures associated with hunting, hunting dog training, and cooking wild game. The program ends with a voluntary opportunity to engage in a one-on-one mentored waterfowl hunting experience. Overall, the experience is designed to help them be the best leaders in conservation they can be.

The Ward Museum’s program will offer classroom visits and field trips for Talbot County kindergarten students to experience the Ward Museum of Wildfowl Art. While this opportunity is already successful in several other Shore counties, it will be a new program for students here. The curriculum supports MD State Department of Education’s Environmental Literacy Standards. It also meets the Meaningful Watershed Educational Experience (MWEE) requirement for kindergarteners, which ensures that school children have hands-on, action-based learning experience that engage core concepts of watershed health and environmental impacts. And what better way for local children to understand the natural world than through lessons about our waterfowl!?

Waterfowl Chesapeake’s Community in Conservation Program includes using restricted proceeds from the Waterfowl Festival to offer non-profits and community entities the chance to receive monies for projects and initiatives at the intersection of conservation and community. “While we also support large restoration projects,” explains Enloe, “these small grants are a simple way for us to bring people and local conservation work together.”

Waterfowl Chesapeake hopes that the broad emphasis on “community” will encourage organizations to think creatively about who they can serve and will help generate new ideas to bring people and regional conservation work, research and education together on waterfowl-related issues. The matching campaign each year gives people a way to make a difference locally. “In the event that we exceed our match campaign goal, any additional funds are earmarked for next year’s worthy waterfowl projects.”

Find out more about the program or making a contribution at www.waterfowlchesapeake.org or by calling 410.822.4567.

About us: With a focus on communities, stewardship and the waterfowl-related resources and heritage on Delmarva, Waterfowl Chesapeake: Connects financial resources from the Festival and environmental needs in communities, Serves as a neutral convener for events, forums and discussions leading to solutions, and Engages and educates communities about the benefits of healthy waterfowl populations and habitats.

Kent’s Carvers and Clubs Exhibition at Waterfowl Festival

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The Chesapeake Bay Maritime Museum’s newest waterfowling exhibition will travel to the 48th annual Waterfowl Festival in Easton, Md. on November 9-11, 2018, before returning to CBMM’s Waterfowling Building through March 2019. Festival ticket holders can see the exhibition at Easton High School.

Kent’s Carvers and Clubs: Guides, Gunners and Co-Ops shares the stories of Maryland’s Kent County carvers and hunting clubs through a collection of decoys, oral histories, historic photographs, and other artifacts.

In the Rock Hall area of Kent County, virtually every young man grew up learning to hunt waterfowl in the early 1900s. That intimate knowledge of birds, their habits and their habitat translated into a marketable skill as gunning became the pastime of the wealthy. Rich photo documentation from the 1930s and 40s illustrate the camaraderie of the well-to-do business and professional men who flocked to Kent’s gunning shores to spend icy mornings in booby blinds, awaiting the arrival of ducks and geese and warm evenings by the club woodstove, where they feasted on local delicacies.

Two duck hunters take aim from a “booby” blind on the lower Chester River, c. 1950. Photo by A. Aubrey Bodine © Jennifer B. Bodine, courtesy of aaubreybodine.com.

Oral history excerpts reveal the stories of hardworking guides, who found vital supplemental seasonal income. Captain John Glenn fashioned hand-chopped decoys from his Piney Neck home, “Decoy Farm,” and began to work with other local carvers to supply a wide variety of stool. While the “Rock Hall School of Carvers” was likely influenced by the work of Susquehanna Flats decoy makers, Kent carver Charlie Joiner learned directly from legendary Havre de Grace carver R. Madison Mitchell, and befriended the Ward brothers of Crisfield, developing his own distinct and notable style.

“Kent County’s bountiful waterfowl population and picturesque shorelines drew gentlemen hunters from the cities to organized gunning clubs, especially along the shores near Rock Hall and Eastern Neck,” said CBMM Collections Manager Jenifer Dolde, curator of the exhibition. “Knowledgeable local men served as guides, savvy property owners leased their land for clubs, and skillful Kent carvers created co-ops to craft decoys for the rigs of neighbors and club members.”

“Kent County has an enduring waterfowling culture—one that continues to flourish in the fields, necks and islands of the deeply-rural region,” said CBMM Chief Curator Pete Lesher. “We’re grateful for the support of this exhibition to be able to explore this important part of Chesapeake history with our guests.”

Kent’s Carvers and Clubs: Guides, Gunners and Co-Ops is generously sponsored by Judy and Henry Stansbury, and the world’s leading decoy auction firm, Guyette & Deeter. Entry to the exhibition is free for CBMM members or with general admission. Kent’s Carvers and Clubs will travel to the Waterfowl Festival in Easton, Md.November 9-11, 2018, and return to CBMM’s Waterfowling Building through March 31, 2019.

To learn more about the Waterfowl Festival, visit waterfowlfestival.org. For more on CBMM, visit cbmm.org.

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