Rick Hallam recently took over as chairman of the local Ducks Unlimited chapter from long-time head Barney Maher and now is trying to figure out his game plan for the group. “Barney left me with some big shoes to fill and it’s not going to be easy,” said Hallam. “If I can come close to filling his shoes, I will consider my tenor as chairperson successful.” Hallam has been a member of the local DU committee for the past five years helping to see through many successful fundraising events. He’s watched from the sidelines as Maher worked his magic for the organization, especially when it came time to put on its annual banquet each spring. “He [Maher] made each banquet successful and was always trying new things to keep people coming back,” noted Hallam. “He has built up the Ducks Unlimited name here, as well as the sponsorship and support from the community.” Maher initiated the local DU group 25 years ago and reigned as chairperson from the beginning. Over the years, the group managed to raise about $600,000 for the preservation of wetlands and migratory birds. Some of that money was put to use here, too. “The major budget is decided at the main Ducks Unlimited headquarters in Manitoba but we did see some money locally,” noted Maher. Through money raised by the local branch, the duck identification signs along the riverfront walkway here were made possible. Maher said he’s enjoyed his time as the head “Quacker” but felt it was time for some changes. “We needed some new blood in there, different ideas, etc.,” he remarked. “Oh boy, of course I’m going to stay on the committee. “And I guess we are going to find out if I’ll miss it,” Maher laughed. Now that Hallam has stepped up to the plate, he hopes he’ll be able to keep the DU tradition going strong in the district. “We are just as successful as the larger centres, such as Thunder Bay and Winnipeg, and I’d like to continue that local success,” he said. In related news, the local DU committee recently donated a $300 print to the Fort Frances Canadian Bass Championship’s silent auction to help out that community event.