Much of South Carolina's natural waterfowl habitat has been lost, as have natural habitats all across the United States. Obviously, this loss has a negative impact on waterfowl and other wildlife. The United States used to maintain the world's most massive expanse of grasslands, a major nesting habitat for waterfowl, but this vital ecosystem has dwindled [source: Ducks].

The South Carolina Waterfowl Association (SCWA) has spent the last 22 years working to protect and restore local wetlands and rehabilitate lost habitats. A 501(3)(c) non-profit organization started in the 1980s, SCWA works with waterfowl experts, conservation leaders, volunteers, biologists, private landowners and local youth to increase waterfowl populations and restore Atlantic Flyway natural resources.

In this article, you will learn how the association began, some of the projects it is undertaking, and the accomplishments it has enjoyed thus far.

You will also learn about the mission of the South Carolina Waterfowl Association, how the organization's beliefs help young people become conservation stewards, and how private and public landowners have become a locally based solution to natural waterfowl habitat loss.

­After learning about the SCWA, you might want to learn how you can help the association achieve its goals and support its efforts. We'll show you how to join the organization and explain the importance of active volunteers and their roles in promoting and accomplishing the mission of the association.

And finally, this article will provide links to additional materials about the South Carolina Waterfowl Association and their longstanding beliefs about hunting. It's about more than shooting birds; it's about responsibility, heritage, family time, finding and appreciating the beauty of the outdoors, leaving no trace and establishing a legacy for the next generation.

Before we get into what you can do for the future, let's explore the past. First up is the history of the South Carolina Waterfowl Association.