South Florida Varsity Chapter Committee members who held their successful first event in March included (left to right) Omar Ortega, Israel Salabarria, Daniel Real, Gabriel Sixto, Diego del Pino, Nicholas Leon, Andres Paredes, Jose Costa, Marco Delamaza, Nicolas Sanchez, Eduardo Garcia, and Andres Miyares.
When you think of Ducks Unlimited, Miami, Florida, is probably not the first place that comes to mind, but Miami is home to DU’s newest Varsity chapter. Nicholas Leon and Diego del Pino reached out to DU in April of 2021 with a request to start a Varsity chapter in the Miami area, and the South Florida Varsity chapter was born. “Wetlands and waterfowl have been in our blood for generations, and it is a passion we both share. We started this chapter to make sure those wetlands and waterfowl we cherish will be there for the next generation,” Nicholas says.
The committee grew from just Nicholas and Diego to 10 additional members. With DU’s mission fresh on their minds, the committee members started planning a dinner and auction event for March 2022. Nicholas and Diego quickly organized the committee and began tasking fellow volunteers with selling tickets, gathering auction items, ordering DU merchandise, and organizing the raffle.
The dedication of the committee paid off on March 30, when they had over 100 people in attendance and raised $50,000 for DU’s conservation mission. Nicholas and Diego are already planning for next year by recruiting more of their friends. Their goals include attracting 250 attendees to their event and becoming the top Varsity chapter in the nation.