David J. Wielicki founds SCWA on December 16, 1986. Wielicki is currently SCWA’s Executive Director.
SCWA initiates the wood duck nest box program to increase South Carolina’s wood duck population. Since the program’s inception, SCWA biologists have distributed and installed 22,300 wood duck nest boxes. SCWA biologists worked with public and private landowners across South Carolina to enhance thousands of acres of wood duck breeding and brood rearing habitat. Wood duck production from these nest boxes exceeds 950,000 ducklings. More than 155,000 songbirds have hatched from the nest boxes.
SCWA waterfowl and wetland biologists begin working with hundreds of South Carolina landowners to create and enhance thousands of acres of waterfowl habitats which provide critical breeding, brood rearing and wintering grounds.
SCWA begins construction of the 390 acre Wildlife Education Center. Each year, SCWA’s Wildlife Education Center summer and school year camps (Camp Woodie and Camp Leopold) teach thousands of youth about wildlife history, hunting and wetland management techniques, and natural resource conservation.
SCWA initiates the mallard restoration and research program. The program featured the banding of 350,000 released mallards and the analysis of band recovery data. SCWA developed a release program that encourages waterfowl habitat development and increases waterfowl hunting opportunity for private and public land duck hunters in South Carolina. Since 1994, participating landowners have released more than 840,000 mallards. For more information, read the Mallard Project Q&A.
SCWA launches the Camp Woodie summer camp program. Camp Woodie’s mission is to pass on the legacy of our wildlife and waterfowl hunting heritage to the next generation of hunters. Starting the summer of 2015, more than 900 youth between the ages of 8 to 16 years are expected to attend Camp Woodie each summer. Facility expansions in 2015 increased weekly attendance capacity to 108 youth per week for a total summer camp capacity of 1,080 youth. Camp Woodie is the nation’s leading summer wildlife conservation camp program.
SCWA launches the Camp Leopold school year program. The mission of Camp Leopold is to create an ecologically literate citizenry by heightening student awareness of the natural world, fine-tuning the skills necessary to read the landscape, and instilling a love, respect, and admiration for the land so that each individual might develop a personal land ethic. Camp Leopold teaches youth, teachers and adults how properly managed the land can provide food, fiber, recreation, fish and wildlife habitat to communities in a sustainable way. Camp Leopold plans to host more than 3,000 youth, parent chaperones and teachers each year.