Dinner to fund conservation efforts

Published 11:44 am Tuesday, February 27, 2018

A dinner set for March 16 at Fuqua School will raise funds to preserve living spaces for waterfowl and other animals.

The dinner to raise funds for Ducks Unlimited will begin at 5:30 p.m. at Fuqua School’s Lower School Gym.

Jim McDilda is chairman of a committee of 15 members of the community who are putting the fundraising dinner together.

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He said in past years, the dinner has been held at Fuqua School and Longwood University.

McDilda said participants can expect good food made by Fuqua Director of Operations and Food Services Johnny Ellington, a live and silent auction, and raffles meant to raise funds.

“People in the community attend,” McDilda said about the event participation. “We have people outside the community also attend, people from Richmond.”

He cited that proceeds from state fundraisers have helped to conserve approximately 47,571 acres of wetlands totaling $11,747,853 in Virginia.

He said the organization Ducks Unlimited reportedly began in the 1930s, when activity in the Midwest, including the Dust Bowl drought, drained swampland in the Midwest and threatened the breeding cycles and population of waterfowl such as ducks, geese and cranes.

“They have a tendency to fly up to Canada for the summer, fly back down through the states to Mexico for the winter, and just keep up that process,” McDilda said. “Because they didn’t have a place to raise their little ones, they just quit breeding.”

“The purpose of Ducks Unlimited is to raise money to buy back land from people, individuals, corporations, land that has some intrinsic value to the waterfowl population,” McDilda said.

He said the organization has reclaimed land throughout the United States and beyond.

“Its reach extends not just to the United States, but extends into Canada and Mexico,” McDilda said about the organization, He added that an estimated $250 raised for the organization could potentially be the equivalent of reclaiming 1 acre of land.

“We in Virginia are not No. 1 on the hit list, of course obviously the Midwest is No. 1 because that’s the main traffic area. But we have a huge concern in Virginia with the Chesapeake Bay and the James River with a lot of the waterfowl population, and with every acre that’s reclaimed … It helps not only ducks but geese, swans, waterfowl, amphibians, the flora, the fauna, all that stuff that was endangered at one time.”

McDilda said while those areas are not completely restored, he said the areas have seen more population growth.

He also noted that while sportsmen participate in the organization, the organization is not solely meant for hunters to take part in.

For questions about the event, McDilda can be reached at (434) 390-8060.