Area Ducks Unlimited Hosting 2nd Annual Greenwing Event March 17

Retrievers are always a big hit for youngsters and their parents at any Ducks Unlimited event. (Photo: Richard Simms)

The Chattanooga-area chapter of the Ducks Unlimited conservation organization is hosting the second annual Greenwing event – called the “Great Outdoors Festival” on Saturday, March 17. Once again the event is free for the entire family (including lunch) and will be held at the beautiful Covey Creek Farm, 2855 Cloud Springs Rd., Rossville, Ga.

Following their participation in the 2017 event (pictured) Sportsman’s Warehouse became the title sponsor for this year’s Great Outdoors Festival. In addition to funding free Ducks Unlimited Greenwing memberships for 200 kids, they will be setting up an entire demonstration campsite and then giving it away to some lucky attendee at this year’s March 17 event. (Photo: Richard Simms)

After a cold, but highly successful kickoff event last year, organizers say this year’s event will be even bigger and better. Sportsman’s Warehouse of Chattanooga is the primary event sponsor. They’re putting up the lion’s share of the money so that the first 200 kids to show up at the event will get a FREE membership to the Ducks Unlimited Greenwing program, plus an awesome goodie bag full of great stuff. You can pre-register to insure your kids are included in the first 200 at this link.

Sportsman’s Warehouse will also be setting up an entire demonstration campsite and then giving it away to some lucky attendee.

Youngsters will get to learn about wildlife “hands on.” (Photo: Richard Simms)

Organizer Ross Malone said, “This year we have added different groups like Safari Club International (SCI) with their wildlife trailer. The folks with Outdoor Chattanooga will provide a mountain bike obstacle course kids can ride. The Str8 Shooters will provide a skeet thrower so youngsters who want to can shoot a few rounds. Plus world-champion duck caller, Buck Gardner, will be on hand.”

The free event is being organized by more than a dozen committed volunteers who say they just want to give something back to sportsmen, especially the kids.

Youngsters who want will have the opportunity to shoot some skeet (20 ga. shotguns) courtesy the Str8 Shooters. (Contributed Photo)

“People are inundated with various electronics these days,” said organizer Alex Duke. “Video games, cell phones and TVs. There doesn’t seem to be a ‘Go outside and play’ mentality anymore. We live in one of the richest outdoor communities in the country. You can swim, hike, fish, hunt, rock climb, mountain bike, camp or paddleboard… all within mere minutes of downtown Chattanooga. We want to show kids some of those outdoor options.”

The event’s mission statement reads, “To share the message of conservation with youngsters in a family-friendly outdoor environment – helping inspire a passion for enjoying our natural resources and ways they can help protect them now or in the future.”

“Besides all the fun stuff to do, these events allow youngsters and families to learn about conservation practices, including hunting like my father and grandfather taught me,” said Malone. “It also demonstrates how to respect and protect the wildlife and resources in the future.”

Jim Edmister with the Chattanooga Crappie Club will be on hand for kids who want to try their hand at fishing. Jack’s Bait & Tackle Shop on Bonny Oaks Dr. will provide free bait for the event. (Photo: Richard Simms)

Last year more than 100 youngsters, plus their families attended the premier event in spite of cold, rainy weather. But the event site at Covey Creek Farm provides places to hide from any precipitation and organizers will be there rain or shine.

“We’ve planned everything else down to the nth degree,” said Malone. “But the weather is the one thing that is beyond our control. We shall deal with what the good Lord provides.”

Duke added, “Last year’s weather was unfavorable at 32 degrees and sleeting, but everyone had a blast and the kids didn’t want to leave. We have learned to measure success in a multitude of ways.”

Again, the event at Covey Creek Farm, 2855 Cloud Springs Rd., Rossville, Ga. beginning at 11 am March 17 is free for the entire family (including lunch).  The first 200 kids receive a FREE membership to the Ducks Unlimited Greenwing program, plus a goodie bag. You should pre-register to insure your kids are included in the first 200 at this link. But organizers say even registered attendees should show up before Noon.

TWRA representatives will be on hand with an archery range for the youngsters. (Photo: Richard Simms)

Beside what’s already been mentioned, these are some of the other activities or displays that will be on hand:
– Archery provided by the Tennessee Wildlife Resources Agency
– Fishing opportunities and demonstrations by the Chattanooga Crappie Club and Blue Ridge Fly Fishing Shop
– A S’mores Station
– Retriever demonstrations by the East Tennessee Retriever Club
– Georgia Dept. of Natural Resources
– BB Gun Range by the Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation
– Drone Demonstrations
– Girl Scouts and Boy Scouts of America
– Tennessee Wildlife Resources Foundation
– Tennessee Wildlife Federation
– National Wild Turkey Federation
– North Chickamauga Creek Conservancy

Sponsors include:
– Sportsman’s Warehouse
– Bass Pro Shops
– Cabelas
– Mountain View Ford Lincoln
– Quality Tire Pros
– Bohanan Auto & Truck Parts
– Sun Drop
– Frost Cutlery
– Moon Pie
– Tony Sanders Outdoors
– CWG (Custom Werks Graphics)
– Jack’s Bait & Tackle Shop

(l-r) Volunteer organizer Alex Duke and Sportsman’s Warehouse General Manager Karl Schiltz. (Photo: Ross Malone)
Following the 2017 event four-year old Stephen Myers left exhausted, but refused to release his new Ducks Unlimited duck call. (Contributed Photo)
Ducks Unlimited volunteer Andy Oliviera conducts a one-on-one duck calling lesson at the 2017 event. (Photo: Richard Simms)
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