The Lake Oconee chapter of Ducks Unlimited, based in Eatonton, is starting out early 2020 with a fundraising success, raising $100,900 for wetland conservation through its fall and spring 2019 banquets.
Rob Pennington, former president of the chapter who oversaw several banquets and fundraising efforts, said learning how to hunt at an early age helped mold his passion for helping wildlife animals and the environments in which they live.
“Knowing I wanted to instill in others what was instilled in me as a young kid, I knew Ducks Unlimited would be a great organization to do so,” Pennington said. “It is an organization that I am extremely passionate about. When raising awareness and donations to conserve and protect wetlands and the habitat of ducks, my main focus was how to connect and relay this message to people in our community.”
Pennington got involved with the organization when he joined as a student at the University of Georgia with his cousin in 2012. After serving as the Lake Oconee chapter’s president for a few years, he recently passed the torch to Conrad Richards.
The money he and his chapter helped raise through the banquets, sponsored by Lake Country Storage, will go toward funding conservation projects across the state of Georgia.
“A lot of hard work and dedication went into getting the public to come out and support us, raising awareness on wildlife conservation and how their donations make a difference,” Pennington said.
Ducks Unlimited is a nonprofit, volunteer-based organization, whose mission is to conserve, restore and manage wetlands and associated habitats for North America’s waterfowl, according to its website. There are about 19,850 Ducks Unlimited members in Georgia, and it has conserved about 27,300 acres in the state.