Wa­ter­fowl Ch­e­sa­peake launches match chal­lenge

Sunday Star - - LOCAL - By JOSH BOLLINGER jbollinger@star­dem.com Fol­low me on Twit­ter @jbol­l_s­tar­dem.

EAS­TON — Wa­ter­fowl Ch­e­sa­peake has launched its first Com­mu­nity in Con­ser­va­tion Match Chal­lenge and an­nounced the three 2017 Com­mu­nity in Con­ser­va­tion award re­cip­i­ents, who are re­ceiv­ing $7,500 from this small grant pro­gram.

WC’s sup­port is “seed fund­ing” to give th­ese ini­tia­tives a jump-start to­ward the monies they need. To get them fully funded and show the re­gion’s love for wa­ter­fowl, the WC is chal­leng­ing the com­mu­nity — and the thou­sands of Fes­ti­val vis­i­tors — with a match­ing cam­paign now through Nov. 13. Ev­ery dol­lar raised will go di­rectly to th­ese ini­tia­tives, in­creas­ing each or­ga­ni­za­tion’s ca­pac­ity to get the job done.

Ac­cord­ing to WC, the Match Cam­paign, with a goal of rais­ing an ad­di­tional $7,500, re­con­nects com­mu­ni­ties with con­ser­va­tion in ad­di­tion to rais­ing funds. WC is ask­ing its stake­hold­ers, sup­port­ers and peo­ple in com­mu­ni­ties to “match” its dol­lars by drop­ping a “green feather” or two for com­mu­nity-based wa­ter­fowl con­ser­va­tion.

“We are so ex­cited to fo­cus on sup­port­ing sev­eral kinds of projects, all which have an im­pact on wa­ter­fowl and their habi­tats. And do­ing so for or­ga­ni­za­tions in our Del­marva com­mu­ni­ties,” said Mar­garet En­loe, WC ex­ec­u­tive di­rec­tor. “We like to think it’s one of our unique ways of con­nect­ing peo­ple and fi­nan­cial re­sources with en­vi­ron­men­tal needs.”

There are three grant re­cip­i­ents. One is the Mid­shore River­keeper Con­ser­vancy for its Stu­dents for Streams pro­gram, an en­vi­ron­men­tal ed­u­ca­tion pro­gram for Dorch­ester County ninth-graders and teach­ers. An­other is Delaware Wild Lands for its Adopt-an-Acre pro­gram, a habi­tat im­prove­ment and con­ser­va­tion pro­gram. The third goes to James Pier­son at the Uni­ver­sity of Mary­land Cen­ter for En­vi­ron­men­tal Sci­ence for his study on re­duc­ing pes­ti­cide use on marshes, which could im­prove food re­sources for wa­ter­fowl.

“The Match Cam­paign also high­lights the Fes­ti­val’s legacy of sup­port­ing our beloved birds and their habi­tats — wet­lands, marshes, un­der­wa­ter grass beds and wood­lands — all which make our re­gion unique,” WC stated in a press re­lease. “As long as there have been avail­able funds, Wa­ter­fowl Fes­ti­val has given some­thing back to the ducks, geese and swans for its en­tire 47-year his­tory.”

Con­tri­bu­tions can be made on­line at www.wa ter­fowlch­esa­peake.org/matchchal­lenge2017, or Fes­ti­val vis­i­tors may drop a few dol­lars in any of the blue “Wood Duck Do­na­tion Boxes” around Eas­ton now and in the ex­hibits dur­ing the Fes­ti­val. Do­na­tions also will be ac­cepted at the Wa­ter­fowl of­fices at 40 S. Har­ri­son St., Eas­ton.

Wa­ter­fowl Ch­e­sa­peake’s Com­mu­nity in Con­ser­va­tion small grant pro­gram, sup­ported by re­stricted pro­ceeds from the Wa­ter­fowl Fes­ti­val, is in­tended to be an an­nual op­por­tu­nity to in­crease the ca­pac­ity of non­prof­its and com­mu­nity en­ti­ties for their restora­tion and con­ser­va­tion work. It is also one of the only grant pro­grams that sup­ports mul­ti­ple types of con­ser­va­tion ac­tiv­i­ties — ed­u­ca­tion, en­gage­ment and re­search — all of which are crit­i­cal to build­ing healthy wa­ter­fowl pop­u­la­tions and en­vi­ron­ments.

Wa­ter­fowl Ch­e­sa­peake hopes the broad em­pha­sis on “com­mu­nity,” which draws on the Fes­ti­val’s long his­tory, will en­cour­age or­ga­ni­za­tions to think cre­atively about who they can serve and help gen­er­ate new ideas to bring peo­ple and re­gional con­ser­va­tion work, re­search and ed­u­ca­tion to­gether.

CON­TRIB­UTED PHOTO

Mem­bers of Wa­ter­fowl Ch­e­sa­peake and the Mid­shore River­keeper Con­ser­vancy are pic­tured with one of the wood duck do­na­tion boxes, part of a fund match­ing cam­paign through Wa­ter­fowl Ch­e­sa­peake.

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