‘Ducks’ banquet fits another healthy bill

Once again, the local chapter of Ducks Unlimited garnered strong support for its annual fundraising banquet—to the estimated tune of more than $42,000.
“That’s about the ballpark. We were shooting for $50,000 so it’s a bit down from past years,” said local DU chair Barney Maher. “But I’m quite happy with everything.”
About 180 people were on hand for Friday night’s dinner at La Place Rendez-Vous, which also included silent and live auctions and a series of draws—from “pyramid” raffles to door prizes.
The auctions brought in almost $28,000 of the total raised. The piece that fetched the highest bid was the “mystery print” in the silent auction—a piece by Paul Calle that went for $1,500 to Steve Lundon.
A Robert Bateman print, entitled “Morning Calm,” sold for $800—which was the highest bid made during the live auction, conducted by Telford Advent of Stratton.
Among the local artists and carvers who contributed items were Linda Lovisa, Dr. Jas Spencer, Connie Cuthbertson, Cher Hogan, Doug Mitchell, Ray Coran, Vi Plumridge, Pam Brandrick, Allan Anderson, Al Heskins, Kari-Ann Anderson, Bill Martin, Steve and Donna Latimer, Bruce Caldwell, Jean Richards, Malcolm Douglas, Greensides General Store, and Nana’s Workshop.
Both auctions were cut back by 16 items, which Maher said may have been one of the reasons for the drop in money raised this year. But he added it helped move the evening along much quicker as things were wrapped up by 11 p.m.
“The evening seemed to go by more quickly than last year. I think people appreciated that,” Maher said. “It seemed to be less congested. That kind of helped to get things moving.”
Just over half of the $42,000 (after expenses) will go towards DU—a North American-wide wetlands conservation network. The local chapter has raised more than $420,000 since 1983.
Its high net contribution was $29,350 in 2000, with an average of close to $25,000 over the last five years.
“We were up in all the raffles, down on silent and live auction,” said Maher. “We seem to be stuck on this plateau.”
One of the major growths for DU Canada has been its education programs.
The banquet’s guest speaker, Rick Wishart, is the director of education programs for DU Canada. He said smaller communities have played a big role in the national initiatives.
“The fundraising in these areas has been phenomenal,” he enthused.
“About 20,000 children were a part of various programs. Those programs we need to connect them with curriculum,” Wishart noted. “We do that by providing them with information based on wetlands.
“The main thing we want to get across is the importance of wetlands and clean watersheds.”
Starting next month, the local DU will hold monthly sealed bid auctions around town, where buyers can take part in prolonged silent auctions for various prints.