SUNY Cobleskill’s Student Chapter of Ducks Unlimited was recognized on the national stage in July as a 2023 Bronze All-American Collegiate Chapter. The award honors a record-setting year of fundraising for the club in which it raised more than $26,000 at its annual Outdoorsman’s Night Out event in November 2022. That money is pooled with other collegiate fundraising efforts and put toward wetlands and waterfowl conservation efforts across the U.S., overseen by the national Ducks Unlimited organization.
The five current members of the College’s Ducks Unlimited Chapter, ranging from first-year students to seniors, accepted the Bronze All-American Award at the national organization’s Tenth Annual Collegiate Leadership Summit in Memphis, Tenn. on July 28 and 29. More than three hundred students attended, representing 77 colleges and universities throughout the United States and Canada.
The Chapter’s trip to the Summit was made possible through an Applied Learning Grant from the SUNY Cobleskill Foundation, the College’s Student Government Association, and fundraising efforts by Chapter members. Those in attendance were Taryn Burgess, Maddox Stirk, Louis Hasenjager, John Giardini, and Makayla DiPasqua.
“I could not be more proud of these students, whose commitment and enthusiasm continue to elevate our chapter to new heights,“ said Advisor and Instructional Support Technician Eric Struening. “This award is a validation of their efforts, proving that a small group, such as they are, can make a large and tangible impact on wetland conservation. We’re already planning for this November’s Outdoorsman’s Night Out, and I am sure that with this group of students, we can continue to build on our success.”
“Our wildlife impact so many aspects of our ecosystem, from population control to plant life and irrigation and Ducks Unlimited is about protecting more than just waterfowl, it’s about protecting natural resources for all animals and insects,” said Taryn Burgess, Chapter President & Chair. “This chapter is one of the deciding factors for me in choosing to attend SUNY Cobleskill, and being honored on the national stage was such a thrill for us, and also a great networking opportunity to meet other chapters, learn how they’ve been successful, and use those new ideas in our work going forward.”
“Ducks Unlimited has protected millions of acres of wetlands, but it’s also about protecting the tradition of outdoors sportsmanship and ensuring that we can pass our passion for nature and conscious game harvesting,” said Maddox Stirk, Chapter Vice President & Co-Chair. “Our trip to Memphis was and incredible experience and eye-opening to see how big this organization is and how the money we are raising is being put to tangible use in protecting habitats in New York and across the country.”
SUNY Cobleskill introduced its Student Chapter of Ducks Unlimited in 2012 as the first Collegiate Ducks Unlimited Chapter in New York State. In 2022-2023, 105 collegiate chapters hosted 171 events and raised $2.9 million for wetland and waterfowl conservation.