Weather doesn't hamper premier DU Greenwing event

At the premier Greenwing kids event hosted by the Chattanooga Ducks Unlimited Chapter, youngsters enjoyed the opportunity to pose with the well-trained retrievers of Blowing Springs Kennel. The dogs seemed to enjoy posing as well. (Photo: Richard Simms)

With snow threatening, Saturday was cold and blustery.

But that didn't stop more than 130 youngsters, and their parents, from showing up at Covey Creek Farms on Cloud Springs Rd. near Rossville, Ga.

They were there to take part in the premier area Ducks Unlimited Greenwing event, hosted by the Chattanooga Ducks Unlimited Chapter.

Donnie Covey, owner of Covey Creek Farm, said, "The average [hunting & fishing] license holder in our area is in their mid-40's.

"We need to get kids more involved in the outdoors. We're passionate about it and we've had a really good turnout."

Covey Creek Farm, a lush 150-acre special event venue just minutes from Chattanooga was the perfect location for the gathering.

Organizers have been planning the event for months, and even though the event was totally free-of-charge, they were worried about how many youngsters would show up for their first-ever event.

When I arrived to a packed parking lot, it was clear their concerns weren't warranted.

The Ducks Unlimited Greenwings program is a special membership category for kids 17 or younger.

A regular membership normally costs $15/year but the kids who showed up Saturday got a free membership and the first 100 received a free duck call.

Greenwing members receive a DU membership card, special Ducks Unlimited decals, four issues of the Puddler magazine (both print & online versions, ages 11 and younger) or six issues of Ducks Unlimited magazine (ages 12-17 years). The youngsters participate in the conservation, restoration and management of wetlands and associated habitats for North America's wildlife.

"Before today Tennessee had about 400 kids signed up in the Ducks Unlimited Greenwings program," said Covey. "After today's event we've got 540."

Before Saturday's event had even ended, Covey and other sponsors were brainstorming plans to make next year's event bigger and better.

"The TWRA helped out, as well as the Georgia Department of Natural Resources and the Tennessee Wildlife Resources Foundation," said Covey, waiting to hop in a 4-wheeler with several other folks.

"We're heading out right now to drive around the farm and see where we can set up a sporting clay-type range so next year the kids can shoot shotguns at clay targets."

It can't happen without dozens of volunteers and sponsors. Check out the Photo Gallery above to see many of the activities and folks who made this premier event a great success.

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