Duck houses

West Carroll High School Ag Construction classes recently built 24 Wood Duck houses for Waterfowl USA. Students included, from left, Gabe Themas, David Murphy, Nathan Veith, Gage Randecker, Emily Hartman, Alex Seidemann, Dawson Carte, Ian McCombie, Faith Hovious, Cheyenne Griffith, Haley Winston, Tyvan Hartson, Ron Kaufman, Cora Collins and Ryan Kaufman

Ron Kaufman is the liaison between the two groups.

West Carroll FFA Chapter recently partnered with Waterfall USA and built 24 Wood Duck houses for Waterfowl USA.

Dan Hartman’s and Don Mathey's Ag Construction classes at West Carroll High School provided the labor and gained construction skills while Waterfowl USA provided the supplies and materials.

Wood Ducks were once thought to be on the way to extinction or at least to populations that could not stand hunting pressure, the ag teachers said.

“Be aware, hunting did not cause this decline,” they said. “Large fragmentation of timber lands and a general lack of nesting sites led to plummeting populations. Hunters took up the cause and started building nesting boxes.”

The houses cost approximately $20 to build and the plans can be found on the Illinois DNR website.

“This partnership is a win-win situation,” said Hartman and Mathey. “Students get materials to complete a project and get their feet wet in the shop using a variety of power and hand tools.”

The project also gives students a chance to use the CNC router for the first time. Students use the router to cut the hole in the door and to carve a ladder on the inside of the door to allow ducklings to climb out of the nest.

Waterfowl USA members can request boxes from the organization to erect on their own property. One misconception is that the houses have to be over water.

“The Illinois DNR says in its wood duck house plans that they can be placed up to a half mile from water,” said the FFA advisors. “This means in Carroll County that would be just about anywhere. Thanks again to Waterfowl USA for their support.”

Waterfowl USA was founded in 1983 by biologists. Waterfowl USA's general purpose is to develop, preserve, restore and enhance waterfowl habitat throughout the United States and to provide better hunting opportunities for America's sportsmen and women.

Waterfowl USA is dedicated to reinvesting locally raised funds back into the local and state waterfowl projects. There was and still is a tremendous need to fund waterfowl projects on the local level. Local and state fundraising chapters are being organized to lead the way in restoring waterfowl enjoyment.