Ducks Unlimited not just for birds

Published 12:00 am Saturday, October 28, 2000

Any hunter worth his salt knows that wildlife is a renewable resource only if proper conservation efforts are made.

The members of Ducks Unlimited know this and take the necessary next step – they practice it.

&uot;I have children. I want one day to share hunting with them, like I did with my father and grandfather,&uot; said Adrian Sandel, the chairman of the Natchez chapter of Ducks Unlimited. &uot;We have to make sure things are taken care of to make sure we have wildlife.&uot;

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Ducks Unlimited strictly adheres to one purpose, according to the organization’s mission statement: To protect, enhance, restore, and manage wetlands and other habitat for the benefit of waterfowl.

But Sandel said it actually serves a greater purpose.

&uot;Even though the name is Ducks Unlimited, our projects benefit way more than just ducks,&uot; he said. &uot;All types of wildlife are affected when we do a project on a piece of land.&uot;

Although Ducks Unlimited has projects all over North America, a good portion of the organization’s efforts center on Mississippi, Sandel said. To date, Ducks Unlimited has completed nearly 1,500 projects and spent almost $5 million in Mississippi alone.

Some Ducks Unlimited funds have found their way to Natchez, he added.

&uot;The St. Catherine Creek Refuge has been benefited by several projects,&uot; Sandel said.

Ducks Unlimited is the world’s largest non-profit wetlands conservation organization, boasting a 680,000-person membership. Since its inception in 1937, the organization has raised more than $1.1 billion dollars.

The Natchez chapter raises money in the form of banquets, such as the Thursday steak dinner to be held at the Natchez Community Center on Franklin Street.

Additional information can be found on the Ducks Unlimited Web site at

The Natchez chapter of Ducks Unlimited offers area residents the chance to help conserve wetlands while enjoying a steak dinner Thursday at the annual Ducks Unlimited banquet, to begin at 6 p.m. in the Natchez Community Center on Franklin Street.

&uot;This is a grass-roots fund-raising event,&uot; said Natchez chapter chairman Adrian Sandel. &uot;It’s not about hunting, it’s about conservation. We have a very focused mission – to preserve wildlife habitats.&uot;

In addition to a steak dinner prepared by Tommy Geoghegan, there will be a raffle, with items up for grabs such as guns, decoys, hunting stands, hunting trips to area camps and lodges and the Ducks Unlimited gun of the year – a Barretta 12-gauge.

There will also be both a live and a silent auction.

&uot;I have to give credit to our auctioneer, Barry Maxwell,&uot; Sandel said. &uot;He’s been doing our events for a lot of years, and he’s raised a lot of money for us.&uot;

The event usually raises between $15,000 and $20,000, Sandel said.

&uot;It all depends on the attendance,&uot; he said. &uot;We’d obviously like this year to be the best ever, which would put us up over $20,000.&uot;

Tickets for the banquet are $45 for adults and $25 for &uot;green wings,&uot; or children 17 and under. Tickets can be reserved early by calling Sandel at 445-2606, or they can be purchased at the door on the night of the event.

Ducks Unlimited is an organization dedicated to fulfilling the annual life cycle needs of North American waterfowl by protecting, enhancing, restoring and managing wetlands and associated uplands.