Atlantic Flyway waterfowl and wetlands are facing critical challenges in an increasingly developed landscape. Under the direction of Dr. Chris Williams, waterfowl and gamebird biologist in the Department of Entomology and Wildlife Ecology, the University of Delaware aims to grow and build, in perpetuity, an internationally recognized, teaching and research program to:
• Promote science-based knowledge of waterfowl and gamebird conservation. Since 2004, 18 undergraduate and graduate students have conducted research projects in waterfowl and gamebird ecology including black ducks, Atlantic brant, Canada Geese, and bobwhite quail. For example Dr. Williams and his graduate students have recently received grants from Ducks Unlimited, Black Duck Joint Venture, and Delaware Department of Fish and Wildlife to assess the wintering habitat quality for black ducks along Delaware saltmarsh and impoundments as well as across the Atlantic Flyway.
• Educate current and future undergraduate and graduate students, as well as private stakeholders about waterfowl and wetlands conservation. Beginning in 2013, Dr. Williams introduced a graduate level reading course in waterfowl ecology and he hopes to expand that to undergraduates soon. Additionally, Dr. Bruce Vasilis (Department of Plant and Soil Sciences) will begin to offer several courses in wetland ecology.
• Grow UD’s Ducks Unlimited Student Chapter. Starting in the 2013 academic year, Dr. WIlliams founded the 16th Ducks Unlimited Chapter in Delaware at the University of Delaware to expand the educational foundation of the DU's Greenwing Program to college students through a multifaceted program of education, hands on wetlands conservation, and fundraising for DU. Other than Yale University, this is the first Ducks Unlimited University Chapter in the Mid-Atlantic and Northeast and it will serve as an important Chapter to promote the Atlantic Flyway's resources for generations to come.
• Create more expansive wetlands on the Newark campus that provide students with valuable outdoor learning laboratories. Starting 2011, the College of Agriculture has actively been restoring wetlands on its property. Not only is this improving water quality and supplying habitat for breeeding and wintering ducks, they also now serve as teaching laboratories as well as offer the new DU student Chapter a wetland to formally adopt for hands on conservation experiences.
Currently 5 endowed waterfowl research programs exist in the United States, including the James C. Kennedy Endowed Chair in Waterfowl and Wetlands Conservation at Mississippi State University, Clemson, University of Wisconsin-Stevens Point, and Colorado State University, and the Dennis Raveling Endowed Professorship at the University of California-Davis covering the Pacific Flyway. The University of Delaware is currently seeking to establish an endowed waterfowl research program to permanently represent the waterfowl and wetland research and education needs of the Mid-Atlantic. PLEASE CONSIDER MAKING A DONATION TO THIS ENDEAVOR. To learn more about the program or to donate to this effort, please contact: Dr. Chris Williams at 302-831-4592 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
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