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Banding Together for Waterfowl

Milestones in Conservation

A look back at some of the most influential people and events in conservation history
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Waterfowl Breeding Population and Habitat Survey—1955

Two decades after More Game Birds conducted the International Wild Duck Census, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS) launched its first Waterfowl Breeding Population and Habitat Survey—now the world's most comprehensive and longest-running wildlife population survey. Each year, dozens of biologists from the USFWS, Canadian Wildlife Service, and state and provincial wildlife agencies physically count waterfowl by air and ground along thousands of miles of standardized survey transects across the northern United States and Canada. The data these dedicated men and women collect have been the cornerstone of North American waterfowl management for almost 60 years. 

Ducks Unlimited Membership Banquets—1965

DU volunteers pioneered the concept of the membership banquet, but it was under the leadership of Dale Whitesell, hired as DU's executive vice president in 1965, that these fundraising events were promoted across the nation. Whitesell's model for success included recruitment of leading conservation professionals as "regional directors" to work with thousands of dedicated DU volunteers to hold membership banquets. Largely due to the success of DU's event system, membership grew from fewer than 30,000 in 1965 to nearly 580,000 in 1985, and grassroots fundraising soared from $155,000 to more than $31 million during the same period. Today, grassroots fundraising remains a primary source of unrestricted revenue for DU's conservation programs. 

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