Last weekend was the California Waterfowl Association’s Annual State Convention and it’s actually the 70th Anniversary of the organization, so of course a pretty big shin dig was planned to celebrate that fact. Members from all over the State were coming and looking forward to a fun, weekend full of festivities including baseball games, workshops, a poker tourney and of course the awards banquet. I on the other hand, was not too happy about having to come out of the hills for work! Really, who plans an work event in the middle of bow season!? I’m totally kidding Jake (the boss man) if you are reading this;).
Of course, I wouldn’t have missed this event for anything in the world! Well at least the Awards Banquet that is! Some pretty important people were going to be recognized for their amazing, outstanding, completely humbling efforts with the egg salvage program! People that will always hold a very special place in my big ole heart! I was thrilled when my boss asked me a few months ago for a few award nominations and although I have a list a mile long of people that I could just hug to death for all their help with this program, I had to narrow it down to just two!!! It really didn’t take me long to narrow down the list. Two gentlemen stood out in my mind. Two gentlemen that I am pleased to say have become my good friends! Two gentlemen who are true Mallard Warriors!
The first of the two awards, was the California Waterfowl Association Farming Friend of the Year! I have to admit that I was able to work with a handful of young farmers this year, that are truly incredible, progressive businessmen and conservationists. I think the future of California Agriculture is in very good hands! But to make my nomination for this award in particular, I had to go back to the beginning of the launch of this program and think back to all the farmers that I sent letters, ag groups that I have given presentations, even coffee shop chats in farming communities, farm bureau meetings, etc. and one farmer simply stood out in my mind! He was the first to approach me after my first program presentation, hand me his business card, shake my hand and say he’d do whatever it takes! Swoon….;)
Deke Dormer was the first farmer to jump on my crazy train and offer to help! He also proved to be a man of his word and we had a pretty good run this past nesting season! He is in every way possible, a Mallard Warrior! Below is the award bio I wrote for the award presentation at the banquet! I know not everyone could be there that night to watch, so I want to make sure everyone who checks out this blog, knows just how very much all of us at CWA, especially yours truly, are thankful for Deke!
Deke Dormer is a 5th generation farmer recently taking up the reigns of his Grandfather’s farming legacy in Colusa County. Deke’s Grandfather, Ken Keller, was not only a farmer but a long time member of the Colusa Shooting Club as well as CWA. Since 2014, Deke has lead the daily operations of his family’s diversified farming operation and has fully embraced the ideals of conservation and land stewardship passed on to him by his Grandfather. Upon the launch of the Dwight Merriman Jr. Egg Salvage and Duck Rescue program, Deke was the first farmer to reach out to our program staff and work actively to customize an egg salvage plan that would fit into his normal farming practices. Working with Deke, and the entire Keller Farms crew, CWA program staff were able to facilitate a highly successful egg salvage plan that was implemented this past wheat harvest, resulting in the collection of nearly 850 eggs on just over 300 acres. Not only is Deke’s reverence for salvaging as many eggs as he did exceptional, but his willingness to open the doors of his operation for program research and method development as well as his continuos promotion of egg salvage efforts within his farming community, give validity to the essence of wildlife-friendly farming. For these reasons and the example that he sets forth, we are pleased to honor Deke as CWA’s Farming Friend of the Year!
You might be thinking, “Eight Hundred and Fifty Eggs!!??” Where did they take all those eggs? and that is where the next award recipient comes into play!
Roger Moore! I honestly cannot help but smile just at the thought of this man! Roger is a little angel man missing from heaven! I have been around many people in my day that claim to be conservationists, but all of them put together could not equal this man! He is simply amazing. I laugh just thinking about the look on his face if he were to ever read this. Hehehehe! He doesn’t even own a computer, so I think I am safe! Roger and I have become close friends over the last few months. Our save the world coffee chats are very dear to my heart and something I look forward to always. He has lifted my spirits, when my work has left me feeling defeated and I have tried my best to return the favor when he is feeling the same! He is the definition of working hard in silence and letting his success be the noise! I am lucky to call him my friend and say he is a man that I greatly look up to!
The name Roger Moore and Duck Egg Salvage simply go hand in hand. You really can’t talk about one without mentioning the other. Roger, a life-long farmer in the Grimes area of Colusa County was first asked by a good friend, to try to incubate a nest of pheasant eggs that he had collected while cutting an alfalfa field way back in the Spring of 1963. That successful attempt over 52 years ago has subsequently resulted in over 30,000 ducklings hatched and released back onto the landscape because of Roger’s unwavering devotion to this conservation effort. Working with permits from the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, Roger Moore has donated thousands of hours and considerable personal expense, over the past half century, to hatching and rearing ducklings (and an occasional pheasant), making significant contributions to this resource. His pioneering efforts in egg salvage have blazed a trail and set a solid foundation for CWA to build our Egg Salvage Program upon. Roger didn’t even bat an eye at the 1200 plus eggs he hatched this past season and welcomed our program staff with open arms to help educate and inspire them. He has been coined the Grand Daddy of Ducks by his egg salvage peers, a famous author once referenced him as the Prince of Ducks, but we here at CWA are just glad to call him a friend and we are pleased to recognize him for his tremendous dedication and many years of service to egg salvage!
Now don’t kid yourself when it comes to writing award bio’s. That is a really tough task to do! I must have re-wrote each of them a dozen times! I guess that is what happens when words can’t really express the gratitude you have for someone;) and that’s when you just give them a title like, Mallard Warrior!
Check out the video below and see what I mean.
Casey and I both had a great time at the event and it was fun to get our Colusa Dinner Committee together to accept the awards they won for having one of the most successful and fun fundraising dinners in the entire State! These ladies are the behind the scenes supporters of this program and I couldn’t do what I do without there dedication to the cause! Love them to pieces! Btw…Be sure to save the date for this year’s dinner coming up, December 5, 2015! All the monies raised at this event really help me do my job to save as many baby ducks as we possibly can!