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Conservation in colour

Jason Unrau
Northern News Services

Inuvik (Nov 22/04) - What do ducks, moose, crayons and wetlands have in common?

Sir Alexander Mackenzie school student James Day, that's what.

The Grade 6 student was the winner of a colouring contest sponsored by the Inuvik chapter of Ducks Unlimited -- an organization with a mission to conserve Canada's wetlands.

The colouring contest for Grades 3 to 6 at the school was meant to raise awareness amongst youth of the importance of conservation.

At Ducks Unlimited's Inuvik chapter's 18th annual banquet last week, which raised $77,000, Day's contest entry was voted best effort out of nearly 100 entries.

"I was surprised to win," said Day, who, in addition to earning a stuffed moose in a camouflage vest, scored a Greenwing Conservation package for his class from the 65-year-old Ducks Unlimited organization.

"Hey James, why don't you use it for target practice," joshed one of Day's school chums after he was presented with the moose.

The Greenwing Conservation package includes several instruction modules, waterfowl field guides and a subscription to Puddles, a Ducks Unlimited conservation magazine geared to youth.

"The response to the contest was overwhelming," said Cyril Gregory, former chair of the Inuvik Ducks Unlimited chapter.

"It's a super cause and if we can get the kids involved, that's great."

Ducks Unlimited's conservation efforts take many forms -- from on-the-ground research, lobbying to change government policy in regard to wetlands conservation and public education.

In the Mackenzie Delta region, Ducks Unlimited has funded several duck-banding and bird count projects.

According to the organization, there are 13 species of ducks in the Delta in addition to other migratory waterfowl including swans, loons and geese.