Maryland Wood Duck Initiative - A Total Wetland Experience
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B&W illustration of wood duck nest box

Spotlight on Sudlersville Elementary School



MWDI Outreach Activities

More than 1,250 youth involved to date assembling 1,250+ boxes, participating in multiple field trips and other educational aspects. Click here to see a summary of these activities.

Will Jeffrey, 2006 Summer Intern, St. James High SchoolMWDI Provides a Unique Educational Experience

MWDI's field activities and focus are especially well suited to deliver a unique educational experience if we can develop and package it appropriately. Learning components can be quite diverse encompassing box building, field installation / habitat study, nest monitoring and overall wetland experiences, various types of research, journalism and other external affairs activities.

We have a "product" that should appeal to all age groups available in all seasons in large and small packages. We can customize educational projects to meet anyone's needs or niche. With time, we hope to have much to report in this regard if our theme, "A Total Wetland Experience" is to have real meaning.

We are seeking to identify all educational programs in Maryland where wood ducks are involved and where other wildlife / wetland education programs may be suited to incorporate a wood duck component. We will recognize these programs in due course to increase awareness and to facilitate new program creation.



The Webelos Scouts of Den 5 and 8
from Crofton Pack 115

Winter Camp Feb 28 - Mar 1, 2014
Winter Camp Feb 28- Mar 1 2014
Click here for the complete story

Two New Youth Activities in 2014

Charlie Hughes (14) will be managing 40 boxes his father has in place along the Blackwater River in Dorchester. MWDI will provide training to Charlie.

Ben Warner, a Frederick County High Schooler will be assembling 12 boxes during the next two months as part of his Community Service requirements.

2013 Educational Program Highlights

Kiva Slade with her children Zach & Alex
Kiva Slade and her two children, Zach and Alex

Kiva Slade has agreed to manage the 8 boxes at the Merkle site in Prince George's County, which is situated along the Patuxent adjacent to Jug Bay.

We inspected the boxes on May 29, 2013 and Kiva and her 2 children Zach and Alex, are now trained! All 8 boxes were used with 2 still active. Of the 6 nests concluded, 4 hatched yielding 61 ducklings.

Thanks very much to Kiva for contacting MWDI and for providing her kids their own Total Wetland Experience as the turtle shell souvenir indicates!


2011 Educational Program Highlights

Jr. Hunter Field Day - Somerset County -June 18, 2011

Aaron Ward talks to kids about wood ducks

On June 18, Aaron Ward represented MWDI at the Junior Hunter Field Day in Somerset County,  sponsored by the Maryland Dept. of Natural Resources Wildlife & Heritage Service.

Aaron introduced the kids to wood duck habits, habitats and their successful use of artificial nesting programs. Over 70 kids took part in a day of fun learning and experiencing outdoor activities. Kids and parents alike were able to view and touch a successful Wood Duck nest hatch. A special thanks to Aaron Ward!

Sudlersville Elementary School Environmental Club

On March 29, 2011 MWDI volunteer Steve Seningen, Sudlersville Elementary School Enrichment Teacher Alison Vooris, and Jackie Sweetak, owner of the Sweetak Farm near Crumpton, hosted an educational field experience for fourteen 4th and 5th grade students, members of the Sudlersville Elementary School Environmental Club. Check out: Spotlight on Sudlersville Elementary School.

The Washington College Ducks Unlimited Chapter will be helping with the new Upper Chester River Project.

Indian Head Elementary School (IHES)

The 5th and 6th grade science class at Indian Head Elementary School (IHES) is starting a wood duck program, initiated and mentored by Tim Emhoff, their Science Resource Teacher. This program is another step in IHES' move to become a certified Maryland Green School. The students will assembled 12 boxes and installed 8 of them along the Indian Head Trail that borders the Mattawoman Creek in Charles County in March, just in time for the 2011 nesting season. MWDI provided the poles, predator guards and box kits. Check out: Spotlight on Indian Head Elementary School

Maret High School

The students at Maret High School in Washington, DC will hold an MWDI-sponsored 12 box assembly event during their Community Day on April 21, 2011. MWDI assisted at a similar event in 2009 and 2010.Also see: Spotlight on Maret School Wood Duck Nest Box Installed in Annapolis at DNR Headquarters.

Youth Box Building Events

MWDI continued to host youth oriented box assembly events in the fall of 2010 and more are planned for 2011.

In 2011, MWDI will host youth-oriented box building events at the Upper Bay Chapter of Delta Waterfowl's annual event in Havre de Grace in May, DNR’s National Hunting & Fishing Day in Sudlersville in September, Chestertown Wildlife Exhibition & Sale in October, as we have been doing since 2008.

New for 2011 are two new wood duck nest box building events: an M-NCPPC event in Prince George's County and a Talbot County 4 H/Juvenile Drug Court event.

Demand for these events is very high and we are limited to accept requests from those organizations that basically provide the funding for the wood involved. A very special thanks for continued financial support from MD DNR’s Wildlife & Heritage Service, Delta Waterfowl, The Maryland Waterfowler’s Association, The Maryland Sportsman Association, The Chestertown Wildlife Exhibition & Sale, Queen Anne Parks & Recreation and M-NCPPC (PG County).

J.M. Tawes Technology and Career Center

The arrangement we initiated with the J.M. Tawes Technology and Career Center in Somerset County with the Maryland Waterfowlers’ Association is yet another “win-win” relationship. MWDI helps Tawes sell boxes their kids make to private program sponsors. In this manner, the school funding for lumber for saw and other assembly tool use is perpetuated and MD private programs obtain high quality, cost effective boxes.

This year, the J.M. Tawes Technology & Career Center’s annual box sale went well as usual with 75 boxes being sold in a matter of hours. The students have been involved in this project since 2007 and plan to continue this program in 2011-2012. To date they have sold more than 250 wood duck nest boxes.

James M. Bennett High School

James M. Bennett High School students will again be creating Wood Duck nesting canisters for a 3rd year. Students in Courtland Lilley’s Transportation Technology class will be transforming scrap Freon canisters into a home for Wood Ducks on the Lower Shore. This year they will be making 10 fully finished nesting structures. The boxes will thus become “turn key” for MWDI volunteers to install.

Last year the students made 25 nesting canisters and turned them over to MWDI to put the finishing touches on them, mount and install in various projects sites.

Boy Scout Projects

MWDI is routinely involved in some fashion with Boy Scout projects.A Harford County Scout Troop assembled 15 boxes and installed them at the Susquehanna State Park this past summer (2010). Kudos to John Schlosser, Project Manager, the Harford County Ducks Unlimited chapter, and Scout Sam Paradis. This year Bob Wassaman will host another 20 box assembly event.

Maryland Envirothon

MWDI continues to participate in the annual Maryland Envirothon competition among high school students where we make a presentation and host an “ice breaker” box building session each year.


MWDI has scheduled three presentation this spring (2011) at the Howard  and Caroline County Ornithological Chapters' meetings and at the Maryland Ducks Unlimited Annual Meeting.

Bill Schultz and Steve Seningen are also planning Wood Duck Presentations for elementary schools in Prince George's, Queen Anne's and Wicomico Counties in 2011.

Roger Strand Video Project

Many thanks to Roger Strand of the Wood Duck Society for making his VHS tapes of nesting activity from his wood duck box web cams available for MWDI's use. Charles Muth recently completed a yeoman’s task by converting hours of tapes into a DVD format. We plan to include video segments in future MWDI presentations and on this website to enhance our educational outreach.

Nanjemoy Creek Environmental Education Center

A new 4 box program being installed in April 2011 will be monitored by the Nanjemoy Creek Environmental Education Center in Charles County.

2010 Educational Program Highlights


Harford Glen Environmental Center

About 15 students from one of Harford County’s environmental education classes (Connie Cullinan, coordinating) assisted the Harford Glen Environmental Center and MWDI with the reconstruction of their Wood Duck Nest Box Program in April 2010. They installed 7 new boxes, added predator guards to 4 existing boxes and removed several hard-to-reach boxes.


Alice Ferguson Foundation’s Hard Bargain Farm

In April 2010, Dora Tak, a Charles County student, assisted Chris Ordiway (project manager) install 8 boxes in a new program at the Alice Ferguson Foundation’s Hard Bargain Farm along the Potomac.


MD DNR's National Hunting & Fishing Day

In 2010, MWDI hosted a youth oriented box building event at MD DNR's National Hunting & Fishing Day at Schrader's Bridgeton Manor in Henderson on September 25th. More than 30 boys and girls assembled (and decorated!) 20 wood duck boxes that MWDI will utilize in various sites across Maryland. Special thanks to Patti Allen and DNR for making the space available and to MWDI's John Chew and Jerry McCarty for assisting Cliff Brown in supervising the event.


Wood Duck Curriculum Component Begun at  Maret High School

An integrated wood duck curriculum component with Maret High School (Washington DC) has been finalized and the program initiated. 18 students will develop short form descriptions and interpretive summaries on wood duck characteristics, habits, habitats, nesting behavior, and nest box program best practices, assemble 30+ nest boxes, participate in field installation and nest inspection work in Kent Co in February and May. MWDI helped develop the curriculum. MWDI is most grateful to Jennifer Mandeville, Maret’s Environmental Science teacher for initiating this project.



In 2010, MWDI made 5 presentations to The Potomac Valley Audubon Chapter, The Washington County Bird Club, the Southern MD Audubon Chapter, at the Chapman State Park Appreciation Day and DU’s Annual State Convention. A radio interview occurred with WCTR and general PR coverage occurred on the Tidewater trader Hunt Issue, the Evening Capital and Ft Meade’s post paper. In 2010 Aaron Ward also gave a presentation to 4th graders in Somerset County.

Maryland Wood Duck Initiative logo & Photo Collage

This page updated on June 04, 2012