Highlands Ranch DU teams up with Cub Scouts on Earth Day

DU, Cub scouts support community, waterfowl with wood duck nest building project
HIGHLANDS RANCH, Colo., April 29, 2011 - In honor of Earth Day 2011, the Highlands Ranch Chapter of Ducks Unlimited worked with Cub Scout Pack 730 Webelos II Den 3 to construct four wood duck nesting boxes to be placed near nesting and resting ponds in the Backcountry Wilderness Area of Highlands Ranch.   

This community effort started last spring when Highlands Ranch Community Association employees noticed wood duck pairs frequenting ponds in the Backcountry Wilderness Area.  BWA Supervisor Mark Giebel approached the Highlands Ranch Chapter with the idea of building duck nesting boxes for placement in the BWA to encourage the wood ducks to nest and reproduce annually in the area.  The Highlands Ranch DU Chapter turned to the Cub Scouts, who were looking for projects to complete their Craftsman Activity Badge, to help with the construction of the nesting boxes.

To support the request and needs of BWA staff, four nesting boxes were completed on Earth Day 2011, which fell on Friday, April 22.  The nesting boxes will be placed in or near existing ponds in the BWA in the next few weeks.  Commonly referred to as "wood duck boxes", the duck nesting boxes produced by this community effort help support and encourage nesting of all cavity nesting ducks, such as wood ducks, Barrow’s goldeneyes, common goldeneyes, hooded mergansers, common mergansers and buffleheads. They traditionally build nests in abandoned woodpecker holes or natural tree cavities caused by disease, fire or lightning. These ducks will also use a constructed nesting box.

Steve Ross, area chairman of the Highlands Ranch Chapter, said, "Since starting in 2006, our chapter has raised more than $40,000 annually, which helps to fund numerous wetlands and conservation projects throughout North America, but it’s especially rewarding to help conserve and foster wildlife right here in our own community.  And we couldn’t have done it without the help and effort of the Cub Scouts."

In five short years, the Highlands Ranch Chapter has already established itself as one of the Top 100 DU fundraising chapters in the U.S., and the number three chapter in Colorado, based on last year’s fundraising proceeds.  The Highlands Ranch Chapter will hold its sixth annual banquet May 5 at The Wildlife Experience in Parker, Colo. Doors will open and complimentary cocktails will be served at 5p.m., with a steak dinner to be served at 7 p.m.

The banquet makes for a fun evening with many opportunities to win great trips and merchandise.  There will be numerous raffles and drawings, as well as a silent auction and live auction.  There will also be young sportsmen and ladies raffles. The fundraiser will help Ducks Unlimited continue its vital conservation work on behalf of Colorado’s wetlands and waterfowl.

Ticket prices are $75 per person and $110 per couple. (Reserved tables of 10 are also available for $750 and corporate tables for $1,000.) This includes all event costs and a DU annual membership. Space is limited, and the committee strongly recommends purchasing tickets in advance to guarantee your participation. For more info or to purchase tickets in advance, please visit http://www.duhighlandsranch.org.

To learn more about the event or the Highlands Ranch DU Chapter, contact Stephen Ross at 303-908-9898 or sross@realestateanalysis.us or visit the Highlands Ranch DU Chapter website at www.DUHighlandsRanch.org.

The Backcountry Wilderness Area of Highlands Ranch is 8,200 acres of open space owned and managed by the Highlands Ranch Community Association. The Backcountry is home to a wide variety of wildlife, native plants and birds. The HRCA has 11 miles of private, natural surface trails and there is an additional 12 miles of public Douglas County Trail through the Backcountry

Ducks Unlimited is the world’s largest nonprofit 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.
Lauren Oxner                            loxner@ducks.org                     901-758-3851