The Ducks Unlimited New York 75th anniversary event, held on Feb. 2, was the first of many celebratory anniversary events scheduled throughout the country this year. The Waldorf Astoria in New York City provided a spectacular venue, and DU supporters from across the state and around the country came out to participate in the festivities.
Before the formal event began, Secretary General of the Ramsar Convention on Wetlands, Anada Tiéga, met with DU CEO Dale Hall to sign a memorandum of cooperation. The Ramsar Convention is an intergovernmental treaty that embodies the commitments of its member countries to maintain the ecological character of their Wetlands of International Importance and to plan for sustainable use of all the wetlands in their territories.
As the doors closed on the Ramsar signing, they opened on the evening's anniversary gala. More than 600 people made their way through the corridors of the Waldorf Astoria, perusing silent auction items and catching up with like-minded conservationists. Unique event merchandise was showcased during the reception and sponsors lined the halls with booths featuring trips, taxidermy and spirits.
Dinner and a live auction followed the reception. The crowd honored John Marsellus for his contributions to Ducks Unlimited, and his address to the group included a look at his 1940 Ducks Unlimited membership card. Mr. Marsellus thanked his parents for aligning him with DU when he was young—a relationship he continues today.
Ducks Unlimited President John Newman addressed the high-energy crowd before the auction. Newman thanked everyone for attending and for their support of wetlands conservation in North America.
"This was a spectacular kick-off event for our 75th anniversary," said Jim Konkel, DU board member and chair of the national shooting committee. "From the Ramsar signing in the afternoon to the packed ballroom with well more than 600 attendees, this was truly an event to be remembered—the bar has been set very high."
DU board member Mike Woodward asked the crowd to raise their paddles for conservation and make a contribution for the ducks. "It's the old adage, ‘If you don't ask you're not going to get it,'" Woodward said. "It's good to stand up in a room like that and give people the opportunity to pause and really think about stepping up to the next level." Several attendees stood up and "raised their paddles" for conservation with generous gifts.
Ducks Unlimited will celebrate its 75th anniversary throughout 2012 with special events nationwide, memorabilia, unique merchandise and publications.
Get more information about DU's 75th celebrations.