Students of Daniel Boone High School in Gray, Tenn., in between Johnson City and Kingsport, recently went out of their way "for the ducks."
Top row l-r: Cody Ferguson, Jared Middleton, Landon Gray, Jordan Shepard,
Joseph Slonaker, Joshua Brocklebank, Ethan Franklin, D. J. Gore, Eric
Middle row l-r: Brittany Devoti, Dakota Chatman, Ashley Poore, Matthew
Field, Haley Dykes
Front row l-r: Melodie Phillipie, Ben Underwood, Kay Elsea, Cody Powell,
Not pictured: Clay Webb, Caleb Warden, Josh Keep, Chelsea Isbell
The area in Washington County has grown in the past several years and has experienced much development and urbanization. Many farms have turned sub-division.
Daniel Boone has a very active vocational agricultural program offering both animal and horticultural courses.
Instructor Carley Lester says, "We are fortunate to be able to offer Wildlife Management and Recreation as a course. Tennessee Department of Education includes this course in its Agricultural Education curriculum for Environmental and Natural Resources Systems."
While some of the participants in the class are hunters and/or fisherman (or fisherwomen), many are not. Some students are interested in careers as wildlife biologists or game and fish officers while others are merely interested in wildlife.
Lester says, "Habitat awareness and preservation is an important part of our discussion throughout the year, whether it applies to game or fish."
He says one purpose of building this awareness about habitat is to help young people become better and more conscientious stewards of the land. Building the concept that a dead tree may not just be a dead tree but a home to many species of wildlife, especially a cavity nesting bird such as a Wood Duck, is one aspect prompted us to undertake this project of building Wood Duck nesting boxes.
Washington County certainly is not located on a major flyway but does have a good size population of Mallards and Wood Ducks as well as Canada Geese year round. DU and TWRA were happy to install 15 nesting boxes at the Lick Creek Bottoms wetlands project in Greene County, Tennessee.
Lester said he and his students enjoyed the building project, and hope the boxes will be a benefit to habitat in the Lick Creek Bottoms.
"Now we just need more rain," he said. "I am hopeful we can do a similar project next year."