Bright young star raises funds for wetland conservation — Ducks Unlimited Canada
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Education, Grassroots

How Sadie became a Wetland Hero

A bright young star fundraises for wetland conservation

December 21, 2020
Sadie Courtney was inspired by the wetland habitat at Greenock Swamp.
Sadie Courtney was inspired by the wetland habitat at Greenock Swamp. © Julie Courtney

DUC is proud to recognize nine-year-old Sadie Courtney as our newest Wetland Hero.

Sadie took great initiative to research wetlands and lead a successful fundraiser in an effort to conserve her local watershed.

Sadie’s journey to Wetland Hero status began at her school during “Genius Hour”, an independent study session where students research a topic that interests them. Sadie, who loves exploring the Penatangore river watershed  in Kincardine, Ontario, dove headfirst into learning about watersheds and wetlands.

“I learned so many things. Wetlands help stop flooding. They protect animals,” says Sadie. “They absorb the bad stuff and keep our water clean.”

After Genius Hour, Sadie felt inspired to take action for wetlands. She went home and immediately started brainstorming ideas with her mom, Julie, on how to make a difference.

“I suggested putting on a fundraiser—we wanted to make a real impact on conservation,” says Julie. “It would work well for Sadie, too, since she’s a natural talker.”

Sadie and Julie had just been to Greenock Swamp the weekend before, a short drive from their place. Greenock Swamp is Southern Ontario’s largest forested wetland and an important stop for many migrating birds.

They remembered seeing the Ducks Unlimited Canada sign at the entrance and that inspired them to pick DUC as the receiving charity.

“It seemed like a great fit,” says Julie.

Virtual fundraiser was a hit

The two quickly got to work planning their COVID-safe fundraiser. They decided on hosting a virtual event for friends and family, where Sadie would showcase and sell environmentally-friendly cleaning products, and then donate the proceeds to DUC.

Julie knew Sadie would speak well and sell a lot of products, but what she was most impressed by was her daughter’s commitment to the project.

“When I first suggested the fundraiser, I thought maybe I’d end up doing it on my own,” says Julie. “Turns out I didn’t have to do any of it. Sadie did everything: all of the research, all of the talking.”

Thanks to Sadie’s charisma, the virtual fundraiser was a hit. Dozens of people showed up to the Facebook live event and Sadie was able to raise hundreds of dollars for wetland conservation. “She totally nailed it,” says Julie. “I was really impressed.”

The fundraiser was such a success that they’re planning another one in January and have plans to help others host their own fundraisers as well.

For Sadie, she feels proud knowing she was able to make a real difference for our wetlands.

“I love my watershed,” she says. “I’m really happy that I could help protect it—and others, too.”



Do you know a young person who’s making a difference for wetlands? Nominate them for their efforts using our online submission form.

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