Cycling for Conservation

Still of the shirt for the event for The Atlantic Ride for Conservation of Ducks, from this past September 9th, 2023. (Submitted: Erin Hurley)

On Sept. 9, Ducks Unlimited Conservation Centre held the Atlantic Ride for Conservation in Fredericton and raised almost $2,000 for the conservation of wetlands.

Ducks Unlimited Canada is an organization dedicated to conserving Canada’s wetlands for the plants and wildlife that thrive there, as well as the people that enjoy these natural spaces. 

This was the second annual Ride for Conservation held in Fredericton. It followed a 17-kilometre loop that began at the Ducks Unlimited Conservation Centre on Union Street and continued along the bank of the Nashwaak River. 

“A healthy planet Earth has got [to have] healthy wetlands in it,” said Sean Eidt, chair of the event organizing committee at Ducks Unlimited. “And we need to be conscious of that.”

Eidt participated in the event himself, along with his young son, who he pulled in a trailer behind his bike. 

He describes his involvement as a “natural” decision as his grandfather, father and uncles before him have been involved in conservation. 

Eidt hopes that his son and future generations do not take for granted the wetlands and their ecosystem. 

“Wetlands are one of the most needed habitats, one of the most needed natural resources that we have — and they’re one of the most threatened,” he said.

Registrants paid a fee of $40 to participate in this event, or $60 for families. Children rode for free, and according to Eidt, they also received donations from individuals who didn’t even participate.  

Still of the merch offered for the event for the Atlantic Ride for Conservation of Ducks, from this past September 9th, 2023. (Submitted: Erin Hurley)

“You made a donation to a local non-profit that’s making a visible difference in the community, you get to have a barbecue with some folks and you get to see some of your backyard that you might not have otherwise,” Eidt said. 

The event brought together fellow committee members, family, friends and strangers who all share a common interest — conservation and a love for the outdoors. 

Another committee member, Paul Bragdon, participated in the bike ride last year and joined the committee soon after that.

“It’s nice and relaxing. Anybody can do it,” he said.

The bikers put on their helmets and cycling shoes before taking off from the centre at around 10:30 am. Some committee members stayed behind to prepare the BBQ.

“The marsh is our first classroom, for a lot of people. It’s such an enchanting and magical place… It brings these people together from all walks of life, and I think that’s something worth preserving,” Eidt said. 

He spoke on the importance of wetlands as barriers to flooding, natural filtration systems for runoff from farmland and carbon sequestration areas.

“These places that capture our imagination are just worth preserving and people all over the place agree.”

This is Eidt’s seventh year volunteering with the Ducks Unlimited committee in Fredericton. He speaks highly of his fellow committee members, such as John Johnson who has been volunteering for over 50 years. The Fredericton committee is made up of a small but mighty team of 12, and Eidt is hoping that number will be 15 or 20 by next year.

“We are of nature and have a place in nature, and we have a responsibility to conserve it.”