Tuesday, February 18, 2014
East Cooper Ducks Unlimited hosted their 17th annual Oyster Roast and Lowcountry Cookout on Friday, Feb. 14 at the Charleston Visitor Center Bus Shed. East Cooper DU has been a Top 1 percent Net Fundraising DU Chapter since 2003, and this is the most attended DU event of the year in North America.
More than 2,000 people were in attendance despite the icy weather from the week before and flight problems for folks coming in from out of town.
For years, the Ducks Unlimited/Southeastern Wildlife Exposition Oyster Roast has been a tremendous success. In fact, this is one of the only events of its kind that is recognized as an official part of the Southeastern Wildlife Exposition. Crowds of well over 1,000 people, with many different interests, came to enjoy an evening filled with fun and excitement.
In 2012, the SEWE and DU teamed up to ensure South Carolina’s continued participation in the Junior Federal Duck Stamp Program, which introduces more than 700,000 students in the Palmetto State to wildlife art and wetlands conservation.
The East Cooper chapter has been the No.1 chapter in South Carolina since 2006 and a member of the President’s Top 100 from the beginning. Area Chairmen Dr. Mark Hartley has led the chapter for more than 12 years and attributes much of the committee’s success to its devoted volunteers and partnership with the SEWE.
This year’s Jr. Duck Stamp Best in Show winner was Rose Holstein. She is a Cario Middle School student.
A special recognition was given to the 2013 Best In Show winner, Emily Knudson. She is also a Cario Middle School student. She agreed to donate her artwork to East Cooper Ducks Unlimited for use in their promotional materials this year. To her surprise, her originals were auctioned off Friday night and $1,800 was raised to be placed in a 529 College Savings Plan for her from East Cooper Ducks Unlimited. South Carolina State Treasurer Curtis Loftis was on hand to make the big announcement.
Hartley and his team are still going over the numbers, “but it looks like we’ll be up from last year’s record-breaker in dollars – so another record-breaker this year,” he said. “Folks were definitely opening their wallets for DU. These were the largest crowds ever at our merchandise store in Marion Square due to perfect weather on the weekend.”
In addition, there will be a national DU board meeting in Charleston this week where they’ll be recognizing the East Cooper Chapter and their SEWE oyster roast as a top chapter and top event in North America.