Our Mission

Through our communication, we want to show people what it’s like to be part of our project. In particular, we want share these three key messages:


1. We want to let people know about how duck behave, particularly what goes on at the duck nests and what affects the duck populations overall.

2. How much this project trains undergraduate students to do rigorous science, which is essential to the future of science and society.

3. Spread the knowledge about the importance of conservation for these duck populations in North Dakota for tourism, the hunting community, and our state’s general environmental health

Meet the Team

Allicyn Nelson

Fisheries and Wildlife Major

Senior, UND

This will be my second year on the project and I am beyond excited to get back out in the field! Last summer was an experience I will never forget and am looking forward to moving from an intern position to a leadership role. This season will be filled with many memories and learning opportunities made with yet another awesome group of researchers. With an immense love of the outdoors, I couldn't ask for a better way to spend my summer. When I'm not "working" I enjoy hiking, camping, snowboarding, cross-country skiing, yoga, and playing with dogs. I also love to fish and am an aspiring hunter. Again, I can't wait to begin implementing our big plans for this project and hope everyone enjoys the great content that comes along with it.

Grant Kapaun

Fisheries and Wildlife Major

Communications Minor

Junior , UND

This field season will be my first summer on this project. I am very excited about getting hands on field experience with waterfowl.  Receiving more field techniques and expanding my communication skills from others within the major and the professional field are what I am most looking forward to. I grew up hunting the Goodrich, ND area for Sandhill Crane and am humbled by the opportunity to give back to the land that raised my hunting passion. In my free time, and even when I’m not available, I am doing something outdoors, or thinking about it.

Melissa Petschauer

Ducks Unlimited Crew Lead Member

I'm originally from Maryland, but have spent the last four years studying waterfowl across the United States. In the past I have worked in Alaska, Oregon, Wyoming, Idaho, West Virginia, Maryland, and Pennsylvania, and I am thrilled to add North Dakota to my growing list. I am looking forward to exploring this area and learning more about the Prairie Pothole Region. I hope to use my knowledge, and passion of waterfowl to inform future generations about the importance of this work and get more people involved in their local wildlife.

Collin RIley

Communications Major

Biology Minor

Junior, UND

I am coming in to my first official summer working on this project. I have had the great ability to start working with the Ducks Unlimited project since the fall of 2017 when I helped with the science communication efforts of last year’s team members. After having a great experience learning and helping last year’s researchers, I am excited to step in and take over the science communication of the project for this summer. I look forward to the challenges of producing content that is educational and entertaining for the public to follow. I am excited for the opportunity to work with Ducks Unlimited. I am an avid outdoorsman who loves to hunt, shoot archery, and fish.

Mason Hammer

Fisheries and Wildlife Major

Junior, UND

The summer of 2018 will be my first field season and I can’t wait to get started working in the duck factory that is the Prairie Pothole Region. Ducks Unlimited is an organization I’ve kept up with for a long time through their magazines and TV shows, so I am beyond excited to work with them this year. I have always loved ducks whether its hunting them or just admiring their natural beauty. I am looking forward to working with my like-minded classmates and friends on this great project that the University of North Dakota and DU have put together for us. In my free time I love to hunt, fish, hike, play sports, and enjoy the great outdoors in any way.

Meet the Teachers

Dr. Susan Felege

Associate Professor UND

I am a wildlife ecologist in the Biology Department at UND with a passion for game birds and training the next generation of natural resource professionals.  I will be helping the students develop projects to study nesting ducks and their predators.  I am excited the project has expanded to incorporate science communication to help our students better tell the story of what wildlife biologists do and what we learn about the animals we study.  When I am not studying wildlife, I am hunting, fishing, hiking or camping.

Dr. Sarah Cavanah

Assistant Professor UND

I am a new faculty member at UND in the Communication Department, and am very excited to being joining this project. I'll be particularly working on helping the students become stronger science communicators.

I grew up in rural Missouri, and spent most weekends on the lake. My research interests are in rural news and information, which leads to my interest in better science communication for rural areas. I know that rural residents have just a strong — if not stronger — interest and need for quality science information that relates to their lives. After all, by definition, we live in the very heart of our ecosystems, agricultural bases and wildlife homes!