ST. LOUIS, Mo., April 5, 2011 –
The Missouri Department of Conservation and Ducks Unlimited hosted the 13th Annual Wetlands for Kids Day event at the August A. Busch Memorial Conservation Area on Saturday April 2. More than 4,500 attendees came out to enjoy the beautiful day and learn more about wildlife and wetlands. New sponsors U.S. Bank and the Dana Brown Foundation provided financial support for this year's event.
"This was a record year for attendance," said Dan Crigler, private land conservationist for the MDC. "It is fantastic to see these children enjoying outdoor activities and learning about wetlands and wildlife."
All children who registered at the event received a free goodie bag and a complimentary DU Greenwing membership courtesy of U.S. Bank and the Dana Brown Foundation. Greenwing is the designation for Ducks Unlimited members under the age of 17. Many Missouri outdoor organizations participated, running booths and events that introduced children to various aspects of the natural world.
"It takes extraordinary dedication and cooperation from multiple groups to make an event like this possible," said DU Missouri State Chairman Dave Hakes. "We registered 1,500 Greenwing members and had more than 20 demonstration and activity stations."
Activities included a duck wing maze that led participants through a path to help them identify ducks using only the wing; air rifle and archery target shooting; casting lessons; coloring contests; and many others. Members of the Ozark Fly Fishers Association demonstrated the art of fly tying and provided each child with his/her own fly. Sorenson Kennels once again showcased retriever training with several of their best dogs.
Children crawled inside an artificial beaver lodge built by MDC staff to learn about the importance of beavers to wetlands. A live-animal exhibit of fish, reptiles and amphibians gave visitors a close look at wetland-dependent wildlife. Volunteers from the World Bird Sanctuary brought a great-horned owl, American kestrel, peregrine falcon and barn owl to give attendees the opportunity to see these large birds up close. Children were provided a native tree seedling to plant at home courtesy of the MDC and the George O. White nursery.
Wetlands for Kids Day is held annually from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. on the first Saturday in April at the August A. Busch Memorial Conservation Area.
Ducks Unlimited is the world's largest non-profit organization dedicated to conserving North America's continually disappearing waterfowl habitats. Established in 1937, Ducks Unlimited has conserved more than 12 million acres thanks to contributions from more than a million supporters across the continent. Guided by science and dedicated to program efficiency, DU works toward the vision of wetlands sufficient to fill the skies with waterfowl today, tomorrow and forever.