Some of the projects the team has worked on since 1989 include planting trees, restoring prairies and building trails, wetlands, bridges, boat ramps and lookouts. The Green Team also hosts youth hunts, most recently youth dove hunts on land owned by Jeffrey Energy Center, and has played a part in the development of the Jeffrey Energy Center wetlands, which not only provide habitat for wildlife but also work to treat wastewater from the center to save millions of dollars for the company.
I think it’s great how the company gets involved in the community and working to preserve the environment for future generations of hunters and anglers. Power plants are typically notorious as being detrimental to the environment, but between its usage of the wetlands to treat wastewater and its increased usage of renewable energies such as solar or wind energy, Westar should be commended for its commitment to the environment.
More importantly, though, I want to applaud the volunteers who give their time to make the world a better place.
Another organization is giving back to hunters, as well.
The Kansas Wetlands Education Center in Great Bend will host a free breakfast event for duck hunters beginning at 8 a.m. Oct. 7.
The center, located at the southeast corner of Cheyenne Bottoms along K-156 highway, will offer biscuits and gravy, coffee and juice from 8 a.m. to noon.
Alongside the breakfast, hunters also can check out the education center’s exhibits and displays on the history of Cheyenne Bottoms, test their marksmanship in a laser shot game provided by the Kansas Department of Wildlife, Parks and Tourism and look through items available in the Cheyenne Bottoms Ducks Unlimited chapter’s raffle and silent auction. New this year will be a free dog retrieving demo with a hunt test training scenario for dog owners to try with their pooch.
“Hunters and hunting is such an important part of the past, present and future of Cheyenne Bottoms,” Curtis Wolf, KWEC director, said in a news release. “It is an honor to celebrate this tradition.”
This is a great way to show appreciation to waterfowlers — who are perhaps more important to conserving wildlife than any other group of hunters.
For example, the 2011 National Survey of Fishing, Hunting and Wildlife-Associated Recreation shows that 47 percent of duck hunters — about 647,000 out of 1.371 million — belong to conservation organizations. Compare that to just 7.5 percent of turkey hunters (about 235,000), 8.5 percent of pheasant hunters (125,000), 2.5 percent of quail hunters and only 1 percent of grouse hunters.
Another study, the 2014 State of the Birds report, shows a 40 percent growth in bird populations in wetland habitats, with the four other habitats that were measured (grasslands, aridlands, Eastern forests and Western forests) all seeing a decline — 46 percent of aridland bird populations have been lost since 1968.
I would love to see more businesses and organizations follow suit by offering breakfasts or other services to duck hunters when the season opens.
For more info, contact the KWEC at (877) 243-9268.
GOODBYE TO MY ‘NO. 1 READER’: I heard some sad news this week from my grandmother, Bonnie Rouse. Bud Williams, of Hoyt, passed away recently. She often called Bud my “No. 1 Reader,” because he would read my columns every week. Whenever she saw Bud, who was 92 years old, he always had something nice to say about whatever I wrote about that week. I’m sad to hear he will no longer be with us. My condolences to his wife, Beth.
CORRECTION: The Jefferson County chapter of Ducks Unlimited will have its banquet on Saturday, Sept. 30. A story I wrote on DU last week had an incorrect date for that chapter’s event.