Leopold Society

This year Sacred Heart Catholic School's Middle School was chosen to be one of the members of the NC Land Trust's Leopold Society. During Middle School Science Enrichment and STREAM, our students spent last Friday working with Sam Parrott from The Land Trust of Central NC - learning and exploring ducks, esp the wood duck . Randy Cox, from the Rowan Country Master Garden Association, helped our students build 6 wood duck boxes. "This partnership between our students and The Land Trust is so important," states Science teacher Hillary Shores. "We are building the next generation of conservationists."

In preparation for their field trip to Cedar Grove Retreat Center in Kannapolis on Thursday, May 4th, our middle school students spent Friday afternoon learning about The LandTrust for CNC, the Leopold Society, and their role in working with state and federal agencies to preserve wildlife habitats, migratory waterfowl conservation (specifically the Wood Duck aka the Carolina Duck), and the waterfowl banding program. Mr. Parrott presented students with their Leopold Society Passports.

The Wood Duck is one of the most colorful of North American waterfowl and as Mr. Parrott exclaimed, "my most favorite". Using iPads, students were able to compare and contrast the plumage of male and female, so that they will be able to successfully identify the waterfowl. With a big smile, Mr. Parrott told our students, the male duck is much more colorful and "the better they look, the better they do with the ladies." Students also created artwork of a nesting pair in their natural environment.

As a service project, they also spent their afternoon building wood duck nesting boxes. At a later date, our students will help place these boxes on conservation land that is commonly used by wood ducks for nesting. They will also have the opportunity to band wood ducks.

The wood duck was once in serious decline due to over hunting (for plumage for ladies’ hats) and habitat destruction. Due to conservation efforts, it is no longer a threatened species and is very commonly seen in North Carolina. The waterfowl banding and recovery program provides location data that is used to help biologists determine waterfowl migration routes. By banding ducks and geese in the northern breeding areas and then marking the points where hunters and others recovered them, biologists identified the four major migratory pathways, or flyways, that cross North America. Biologists band more than 200,000 ducks and nearly 150,000 geese and swans in North America each year.

Adult volunteer watches as two male students hammer a nail into a wooden box.

Adult speaks to students about the Leopold Society

A smiling young femail student reads a Leopold Society booklet

Adult volunteer watches as three femail students assemble wooden box, one student is hammering a nail into a corner of the box.