With a goal of making sure waterfowl fly in the skies forever, a local conservation group is looking forward to one of their biggest events of the year.
The Clinton-Sampson Ducks Unlimited Annual Banquet is set for Saturday, March 19, at the Sampson County Agri-Exposition Center, 414 Warsaw Road. Doors will open at 6 p.m. with dinner being served at 7:30 p.m. on Saturday.
Funds from the event will go towards conservation efforts to preserve habitat areas in the United States and other countries such as Canada and Mexico. According to the organization in the early 1930s, more than 13 million acres of wetland habitats for waterfowl and other wildlife through conservation programs, as of early 2014. Ducks Unlimited has more than 592,000 adult members and over 48,900 youth participants.
Volunteer and committee member Keith Jones said between 350 to 400 people attend the annual banquet to enjoy a meal and make contributions to the organization.
“It helps to preserve land and keep it in conservation , rather than having it be cleared for a Walmart parking or whatever,” Jones explained while speaking about the organization. “We’re trying to keep original land and prairie and the nesting areas that are out her not just for us, but for waterfowl and also for any kind of wildlife. All kind of wildlife will be enhanced by land that is preserved.”
Also, Jones said the organization is about making sure quality water is available for wildlife.
“We’re trying to always make sure that we’ve got clean flowing water,” Jones said. “That’s what this money is raised for. It’s all together just 100 percent conservation.”
The Clinton chapter of the nonprofit organization has hundreds of members. It’s ranked in the President’s top 100 chapters nationally since the recognition began. The list is reserved for the top 100 chapters that raise up to $100,000 in grassroots income for DU’s conservation mission. Chapters raising more than that amount are recognized by the President’s Elite award.
In 2015, the Clinton chapter was fourth in the nation in fund raising and first in North Carolina for the 2014 fundraising year.
Presale tickets are now available and will not be sold at the door. The deadline to make purchases is Thursday, March 17. Prices are based on individual, couple and sponsorship levels. A single ticket is $50, $80 for a couple and $30 for Greenwing members. Through the youth Greenwing program, members participate in activities and other conservation efforts.
The fee for a bronze sponsorship table is $300 and $800 for a corporate table. In the spring, a separate dinner event is held for sponsors.
“For every bronze sponsor, we’re conserving one acre of land somewhere,” he said about the major contributors.
Later during the fall Ducks Unlimited will show their appreciation again by hosting a shooting event with a meal.
Jones said between 350 to 400 people attend the annual banquet. During the fundraiser, some of the auction items include artwork, decoys, guns, guided hunts and outdoor gear will be available through auctions and raffles.
Tickets can be purchased at Atrium Florist & Gifts, 121 Fayetteville St., Clinton; Pizza Inn, 1103 Sunset Ave., Clinton; Matthews Cards & Gifts, 352 Northeast Blvd., Clinton; Crop Production Services, Inc., 345 Pugh Road, Clinton; Clinton-Sampson Chamber of Commerce, 414 Warsaw Road, Clinton; and James Trading Company, 311 N. East St., Roseboro. Committee members will also be available for ticket sales.
“We’re just hoping for another successful banquet and that everybody has a good time,” Jones said.
For more information, contact Jones at 910-590-9335 or Laurice Williams at 910-990-5491. Information regarding the banquet and tickets is available online at www.ducks.org/north-carolina/events/40674/2016-clinton-ducks-unlimited-banquet.
Reach Chase Jordan at 910-249-4617. Follow us on Twitter at @SampsonInd and like us on Facebook.