The welfare of ducks and their habitats has risen to new heights at SUNY Cobleskill this year.
Ducks Unlimited, a national conservation organization, this month named the State University College of Agriculture and Technology at Cobleskill as a “Ducks University.” SUNY Cobleskill is the only college in New York state carrying the designation.
“I’m excited,” said Michael Losito, professor and program director of Wildlife Management Department of Fisheries and Wildlife and Environmental Studies at the college.
The SUNY Cobleskill club has raised more than $4,000 for Ducks Unlimited and presented a float in a holiday parade. Students have captured and banded 84 ducks, are planning a project to install wooden duck boxes for nesting and to reach out with programs on nature and conservation to local children.
The formation of the club comes as the college’s four-year wildlife management program continues to grow. Losito was hired to start the Bachelor of Technology program in 1995. The major has 110 students, graduating about 25 each year, he said, and a second faculty member will start in the fall term to help as student enrollment grows.
Losito, a Ducks Unlimited member for more than 25 years and a hunter, said Ducks Unlimited and the collegiate club are open to hunters and non-hunters. He credits SUNY Cobleskill senior Cody Davis for starting the club and students for showing leadership and participating to fill ranks to about 20 members.
Davis, who spent last summer studying ducks with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service in Fairbanks, Alaska, said having an officially recognized club is “a great opportunity.” The club will present programming to the campus and off-campus communities that will enhance wetlands conservation and duck populations, he said.
“We have a lot of great ideas,” Davis said. Two campuses in New York state previously had chapters, but the one at SUNY Cobleskill is the only currently active club, he said