Ducking and running for wetlands

Uniting the running and walking community with wetland conservation proves to be a natural fit

Top finishers in the 5K and 10K races pose at the podium with Friendly: the Giant Tiger. ©DUC

Oak Hammock Marsh, Man. was bustling on August 7, 2016, when nearly 200 people descended for the 2nd annual Duck & Run fundraising event in support of DUC and wetland conservation.

Runners and families eager to enjoy the outdoors participated in one of several events: a 5K run, a 10K run, a 2K family walk and a 2K individual walk/run. Participants of all ages and abilities enjoyed the sunny morning on the marsh’s extensive network of trails.

Running
10K runners round the bend on the scenic route, which wound its way around Oak Hammock Marsh. ©DUC

Oak Hammock is a restored prairie wetland and Ramsar site (wetland of international importance) located about 40 kilometres north of Winnipeg. It’s also home to the award-winning Oak Hammock Marsh Interpretive Centre and the site of DUC’s national offices. The Duck & Run volunteer organizing committee consists mainly of DUC employees.

Running
Finishing the “Poop Loop,” a section of trail that loops around a natural waste water wetland, which treats helps treat wastewater. ©DUC

For many Duck & Run participants, it was their first introduction to Oak Hammock Marsh.

“I was thrilled to see so many people enjoying the same trails we get to enjoy every day, in all seasons,” says Duck & Run race director Leigh Patterson.

Running the 10k trail
We found this ladybug on the 10K trail. ©DUC

“Our Duck & Run was a wonderful opportunity to connect people to the outdoors while sharing the many values of wetlands – fresh air, clean water, plant and animal life – with a new, appreciative audience. Even better, these same people could see firsthand how wetlands can support an active, healthy lifestyle,” says Patterson.

plpAfter dodging geese and ground squirrels, and navigating the “poop loop” around a natural waste water wetland, participants enjoyed healthy snacks and bird banding demonstrations, and visited booths by local vendors.  Representatives of Giant Tiger Stores Limited and The North West Company – the Interpretive Centre’s Premier Healthy Living Sponsors – entertained the younger set with treats, fun giveaways and an appearance by mascot Friendly: the Giant Tiger.

Duck & Run registrations included free admission to the Interpretive Centre, and all finishers received an engraved commemorative duck band on a set of blaze orange shoelaces.

Running family
The family that runs together, wins together! Every member of the Millns family took home a medal, placing in the top 3 in their category. Left to right: Carlynne Millns (1st place, 10K), Lisa Millns (2nd place, 5K), David Millns (2nd place, 5K – male), Sarah Millns (1st place, 5K). ©DUC

Participant feedback has been positive and the committee is already taking what they’ve learned and are planning for an even bigger and better Duck & Run event next year on Sunday, August 13, 2017. Stay tuned…and prepare to get quacking!

Relive some of our favourite 2016 Duck & Run moments on the event Facebook page.

Conservation and community

DUC events are as diverse as the volunteer chapters that host them. Find an event in your area, and have a great time supporting conservation and your community.

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