Ducks Unlimited has some really talented staff when it comes to public policy, but there are only a few of them. That’s why in advocacy, as in everything else, DU depends on informed volunteers to take conservation’s message to state, local and even federal lawmakers.
As adept as DU volunteers are, everyone needs some tools. Wisconsin Public Policy Chair Nels Swenson worked with his regional office to develop recruiting and educational materials to enhance his in-state efforts.
“I knew a lot of people are willing to make a phone call or a visit on behalf of wetlands and waterfowl, but coordinating with people was a challenge,” said Swenson. “Wisconsin is a big DU state, I couldn’t talk to everyone. In addition, we needed some information that would get the attention of elected officials quickly, letting them know how important DU is in their area.”
At Wisconsin’s recent convention Swenson was able to share recruiting material captioned “Can you make a duck call?” He gave out postcards for interested advocates to make contact with him, and gave extras, along with small displays, to all of the state’s regional directors.
With recruiting in progress, Swenson obtained district maps illustrating projects either finished of ongoing projects to have on hand for office visits.
“Ducks Unlimited has a continental mission, but it still catches a legislator’s eye when you show them that we have put dollars on the ground and wetlands on the map right where they were elected. Their constituents benefit through cleaner water, flood control and recreation.”