Raymond Beck
Marlow, Oklahoma

Raymond Beck, a retired city employee, has dedicated and managed his 60-acres of land for wildlife for more than 30 years. He has developed and enhanced wetland sites for wood ducks at nesting densities unheard of in south central Oklahoma. Between 500 and 1,000 wood ducks hatch on his property every year.

In this region of the United States, many major streams were cleared of timber and their channels straightened in the 1950s. As a result, wood duck nesting habitat declined drastically. Mr. Beck became concerned and began a wood duck nest box project more than 20 years ago with the construction of two wetlands. Over the years, he has experimented with box clusters, resulting in a high number of boxes in a relatively small area. In cooperation with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service’s Partners for Fish and Wildlife Program, he constructed three additional wetlands in 1939, which increased his wetland habitat to nearly 20 acres. In spring 1993, Mr. Beck maintained and monitored a total of 140 wood duck nest boxes, 13 Canada goose nesting structures, and 50 bluebird boxes.

Raymond Beck’s wetland project is an outstanding example of what one person can accomplish with limited financial resources, a strong land ethic, hard work, and dedication to wildlife.

Over the years, Mr. Beck not only has restored his land to its optimum wildlife habitat conditions, he ardently has advocated for wildlife habitat restoration and has constructed and given out more than 300 wood duck nest boxes, 100 Canada goose nesting structures, and more than 500 bluebird nest boxes to his neighbors, both locally and nationwide.

— Jontie Aldrich, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, Tulsa, Oklahoma