Outdoors

Ole Miss, MSU, LSU reach Ducks Unlimited's Sweet 16

TAMMY SMITH/SUN HERALD 
 Resident ducks take a nap on the banks of the pond at Francis X. Collins Fitness Center in Gulfport. Through Ducls Unlimited, several SEC schools have chapters.
TAMMY SMITH/SUN HERALD Resident ducks take a nap on the banks of the pond at Francis X. Collins Fitness Center in Gulfport. Through Ducls Unlimited, several SEC schools have chapters.

The SEC is considered the nation's top conference in football and baseball.

Ducks can now be added to the list.

Seven SEC schools finished on Ducks Unlimited's Sweet 16 list of top-producing volunteer university chapters across the nation.

Aggieland, College Station is ranked first, followed by the Tiger Chapter Ducks Unlimited at LSU, Colorado State, North Carolina State and Pirate/Greenville.

Ole Miss, Georgia, Tennessee, Milwaukee School of Engineering, South Carolina round out the Top 10.

Mississippi State, Bemidji State, Gustavus Adolphus, Missouri State, Georgia Southern and Lamar are the other ranked schools.

To qualify for the 2015 Sweet 16 competition, chapters had to raise more than $25,000 during the calendar year. Last year, university chapters raised $1.5 million dollars for the ducks for the single largest fundraising year in university chapter program history. The sweet 16 chapters raised $925,000.

"Ducks Unlimited's university program continues to be a vital part of our organization's mission," Ducks Unlimited National Director of Event Fundraising David Schuessler said in a statement. "It is a valued revenue generator for our conservation efforts, as well as an important source of organizational awareness and leadership."

Ducks Unlimited has 100 chapters, including Southern Miss, Delta State, Alabama, Auburn, Arkansas and Kentucky.

"College students across the country are showing that the future of waterfowl and wetlands are important to them," Schuessler said. "I'm inspired by the number of college students that see the need for conservation and do something about it. I would like to personally thank all our Sweet 16 chapters for their achievement, and I look forward to seeing them among our distinguished chapters next year."

Ducks Unlimited, established in 1937, has conserved $13.6 million acres behind contributions from over a million supporters around the world.

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