Students conserve wetlands

Joslyn McCall, Staff Writer

Interested students and staff are welcomed to join Francis Marion University’s (FMU)
recently established student organization, FMU Ducks Unlimited.
Student Cody Simpson established FMU Ducks Unlimited in August under the national
and Florence Chapter of Ducks Unlimited.
“I was the chairman of Clarendon Soul and Water Conservation Youth Boards for four years in
high school and in my college years I missed being a part of that type of community service,” Simpson said.
“Francis Marion offers a lot of student organizations but there were no conservation projects on
campus for students to get involved in. I chose to establish FMU Ducks Unlimited because of the
commitment and dedication to conserve the wetlands and getting more students interested in
conserving wetlands also for the generation of tomorrow,” Simpson said.
According to Simpson, FMU Ducks Unlimited has an estimate of 100 members and
majority of those members are freshmen. Simpson said he is proud to see freshmen take
ownership of the school by stepping up and getting involved early.
In conjunction with South Carolina Department of Natural Resources (SC-DNR) and the
Florence Ducks Unlimited Chapter, FMU Ducks unlimited mission is to conserve, restore and
manage local wetlands as well as America’s waterfowl. Conservation of these habitats will be
beneficial to wildlife and improving the quality of life for future generations.
SC-DNR Officers will be attending the chapter meetings to educate students on
restoration, pond biology and restoration. With the educational experience FMU Ducks
Unlimited chapter provides, the chapter will also be teaming with the Florence Ducks Unlimited
chapter, SC-DNR and several Greek organizations in numerous conservation projects:
revitalizing Dargon Pond, building and strategically placing duck boxes around the pond and
volunteering at Florence Ducks Unlimited Chapter annual spring banquet.
One main conservation project for the FMU Ducks Unlimited Chapter will be to
revitalize the FMU pond. Although still pending approval, this project is in the works. That is
why FMU Ducks Unlimited is seeks Biology Majors and give them the opportunity to put their
learning to use. Knowledge of plants, animals and ecological structures will be needed in the
upcoming conservation projects.
FMU Ducks Unlimited’s Advisors Katherine Barnette, administrative coordinator/graphic
designer, and Julian Young, director of alumni affairs and annual giving, are pleased to see how
many students are passionate about conservation and would love to see the FMU Ducks
Unlimited membership double by the end of the academic year.
“I am delighted to see students so passionate about conservation,” Katherine Barnette,
FMU Ducks Unlimited Advisor said.
Barnette clarified a few common misconceptions about Ducks Unlimited.
“One Misconception is that Ducks Unlimited is a clothing brand,” Barnette said. “The
clothing retail sales help fund the national chapter of Ducks Unlimited of which we are a local
chapter. Also that you have to be a duck hunter to join, many people are involved with Ducks
Unlimited who have no hunting interest at all, we do several fundraising events throughout the year.”
Barnette went on to say the SC-DNR office has extended an invitation for FMU Ducks
Unlimited students to vistit Dargon Pond to see the pond’s revitalization in process, which we
will be happening in the coming months.
A small group of men established Ducks Unlimited during the Dust Boul when the
drought plagued North America’s waterfowl population in 1937. The national mission to
conserve, restore and manage wetlands  and associated habitats for North Americas waterfowl
have been abided by over the decades by the 51, 876 Ducks Unlimited members.
Students who in interested in the conservation of wetlands and would like to join, please
contact FMU Advisors Katherine Barnette at (843) 661-1220 or Julian Young (843) 661-1228.
FMU Ducks Unlimited can also be followed on their twitter page @FMU_DU.