For the past 78 years, Ducks Unlimited (DU) has been a leader in wetlands and waterfowl conservation. Given that today marks DU's 78th anniversary, it's only appropriate to look back on the past year and highlight some of our biggest accomplishments.
Last year, DU reached many milestones not only in conservation, but in the complementary arenas of public policy and fundraising as well.
Perhaps the biggest conservation success came with our announcement that more than 5 million acres had been conserved by DU and our partners throughout the United States. That accomplishment adds to DU's total of more than 13 million acres conserved across North America. In 1984, DU launched its U.S. habitat program, which was a logical extension of DU's longstanding mission to conserve and enhance North America's most important wetlands to waterfowl. DU is able to deliver its work through partnerships with private individuals, landowners, agencies, scientific communities and other entities. Successes like this only help build upon DU's reputation and proven track record as a leader in conservation.
Looking to Washington, D.C., the federal duck stamp price increase of 2014 passed and was signed into law. The Duck Stamp Act of 2014 will help conserve even more vital waterfowl habitat across America, especially in the Prairie Pothole Region, one of the continent's most important production areas. Since the federal duck stamp's introduction in 1934, that program has raised more than $750 million and has conserved more than 6 million acres of waterfowl habitat vital to both waterfowl and waterfowlers.
And the good news continues. In 2014, DU reached several fundraising milestones, not the least of which was $53.9 million raised through events around the nation. Thanks to the work of DU's volunteers, more wetlands habitat will be restored, enhanced and even created, ensuring DU's mission of wetlands sufficient to fill the skies with waterfowl today, tomorrow and forever will continue to become a reality.
As we reflect on the successes above during this important birth date, DU marches on, continuing our mission of conserving, restoring and managing wetlands and associated habitats for North America's waterfowl. And our future continues to look just as bright. As we look toward the next year, we are excited about many opportunities, including the opening of the Ducks Unlimited Waterfowling Heritage Center in the new Bass Pro Shops at the Pyramid. Thanks to a partnership with Bass Pro Shops, DU will have more than 4,500 square feet to tell the DU story right in our own backyard of Memphis. And of course, we'll keep hard at work toward our vital conservation mission, including the anticipated launch of a new campaign to take wetlands and waterfowl conservation to the next level during a time when these efforts will be needed more than ever.
With your continued support, our vision will continue to be realized. On behalf of DU's countless thousands of volunteers, members, supporters and partners we say - Happy Birthday Ducks Unlimited!