Starting this spring, students will be studying wetlands in Schoharie County to identify sites to install wooden nesting boxes, Losito said. The club received a donation of 22 boxes, he said, and during the 10-year project will install them.
Two species locally that might use the boxes are the North American wood duck and the hooded merganser, Losito said. The boxes are about 26 inches tall by 15 inches wide and deep.
Boxes cannot be located where natural habitats provide nesting spaces, such as in tree cavities, Losito said. During spring and fall, the club can schedule activities based on installing, checking on and cleaning out the boxes, he said.
The Ducks University program began in 1977 at the University of Texas in Austin in 1977, according to the Ducks Unlimited website, and has 84 chapters. In 2011, those 84 chapters were responsible for raising more than $600,000 and the forecast for 2012 projects raising a similar amount.
Locally, the SUNY Cobleskill Ducks University will participate in the college’s Wildlife Festival in April, an event that is free and open to the public. Losito said the club also will host activities for Greenwings, the Ducks Unlimited organization for children, in April.
Ducks University chapters play an increasingly important role in Ducks Unlimited’s conservation mission, the organization’s website said, and collegiate programs are key to a healthy future for wetlands conservation. The clubs also provide social functions, networking opportunities and leadership development.