Delaware Nature Society Program Guide and Newsletter September - December 2017 - Page 22

Young Waterfowlers Connecting The Next Generation to the Outdoors By Derek Stoner Eyes squinting into the bright sunrise and the cold December air, two teenagers peer above the tall brown grasses and look across the scene before them: an expansive wetland, full of chattering ducks, honking geese and soaring Bald Eagles. The entire Bear Swamp impoundment at the legendary Bombay Hook National Wildlife Refuge is full of life and awakening at sunrise. Their parents beside them, these young adults are full of anticipation as they prepare for their first-ever waterfowl hunt. In these days of smart phones and digital life keeping us tied to screens indoors, one of the best shows on Earth is watched each year by a special group of people. These are the Young Waterfowlers, a group of youth who connect deeply to the outdoors and continue a grand American tradition. Delaware Nature Society’s Young Waterfowlers program is a comprehensive curriculum that introduces youth to waterfowling through a broad array of topics such as wildlife management, wetland enhancement, waterfowl identification, and hunting ethics. For the past two decades, the program has evolved and expanded to keep up with modern changes in the world while still keeping with the traditions of the waterfowling lifestyle. Photography by Derek Stoner 22 NATURE EXPLOR ER Sep – Dec 2017