Ducks Unlimited’s Wetlands America Trust continues to grow while nearing the 25th anniversary of its founding
By Gary Koehler
While its name has changed on a couple of occasions since its inception, Ducks Unlimited’s Wetlands America Trust (WAT) continues to upgrade a standard of performance excellence in the waterfowl and wetlands conservation community. Extraordinary leadership has thrust WAT into the forefront of this organization’s battle to preserve the wild places critical to waterfowl.
“DU was once called the best-kept secret in conservation,” says Ducks Unlimited Executive Vice President Don Young, who also serves as WAT’s chief operating officer. “Perhaps that moniker is now worn by WAT. Our objective now is to continue to enhance its profile.
“WAT’s sole purpose of supporting Ducks Unlimited’s conservation mission has been unwavering,” Young explains. “Its principal roles include raising significant philanthropic gifts and fiduciary responsibilities for managing Ducks Unlimited’s endowments and its land holdings including conservation easements. That has been consistent from the outset, but this has really accelerated, especially during the Wetlands for Tomorrow Campaign.”
A loyal contingent of upper-level volunteers has been at the forefront of WAT’s vigorous growth. “Jim Kennedy demonstrated extraordinary leadership throughout his 15-year tenure as WAT’s first president,” Young said. “He was instrumental in attracting other community leaders, provided significant cash resources in support of our conservation mission, and demonstrated his personal commitment to the conservation easement program by setting aside in perpetuity a number of wonderful properties from Montana to Mississippi. Because of Jim’s leadership and that of the trustees, WAT has grown, both in terms of size and its stature.”
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