FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Contact: Kelli Alfano,
Public Affairs Coordinator
Copper Country Chapter Help to Carry out Ducks Unlimited’s Mission of Conserving Preserving and Restoring Wetland Habitats
Ann Arbor, MI – April 18, 2006 – The Copper Country Ducks Unlimited (DU) chapter is celebrating its 30th anniversary on Wednesday, May 3rd at the Michigan Technological University Union. Much of the funding that DU uses for its conservation work is derived from local fund-raising banquets like the Copper Country event that are spearheaded by thousands of dedicated volunteers.
Formed in 1976 by a group of local interested sportsmen, the first Copper Country DU banquet was held in May of 1977 at the Miscowaubik Club in Calumet with 124 attendees and raised $3450 for the Ducks. The following year, the event was moved to the Michigan Tech Memorial Union and has remained there ever since, raising more than $300,000 since its beginning. Bob & Brad Banfield, Dan Barton, Bob Boyce, John DePuydt and Walt Kuntze have been with the committee since its inception. In addition to its spring banquet, a donor’s picnic is held in June to thank the area sponsors who make the event possible. A clay duck hunt is held in September, a ladies event in November and a major sponsor event in February. The committee was instrumental in the formation of the Ontonagon and Baraga chapters as well. The banquet is open to anyone interested in conserving wetland habitat and ticket information can be obtained from any of the above individuals.
The mission of DU is to protect, restore, enhance and manage wetlands and associated habitats for North America’s waterfowl, with the understanding that these habitats also provide significant benefits to a wide diversity of other wildlife and society. Since being founded in 1937, DU has raised more than $1 billion for the conservation of more than 11 million acres of prime wildlife habitat in all 50 U.S. states, every Canadian province, and key areas of Mexico and Latin America. In the U.S. alone, DU has helped to conserve more than 3 million acres of waterfowl habitat benefiting some 900 wildlife species, including dozens that are threatened or endangered. Additionally, the habitats conserved by DU improve the overall health of our environment by recharging and purifying groundwater, moderating floods, reducing soil erosion, and providing recreation.
DU has been conserving habitat in Michigan since 1987 and has completed more than 1,200 projects throughout the state, working in partnership with a variety of conservation partners, including federal, state and local units of government, corporations, foundations and other non-profit and private landowners.
In 2005, Michigan DU surpassed a major conservation milestone by conserving its 50,000th acre. Today, 53,654 acres of wetlands and associated uplands have been restored, enhanced or permanently protected by DU in Michigan. In the Upper Peninsula alone, 99 conservation projects have been completed that resulted in the conservation of more than 10,000 acres of wildlife habitat including the Sturgeon River Sloughs Wildlife project in Houghton and Baraga Counties.
DU leverages each dollar raised at local fundraising events against three or more partner dollars, effectively turning every DU dollar into four or five dollars for conservation. Furthermore, DU is one of the world’s most efficient non-profit organizations, spending more than 85 percent of its funds on habitat conservation.
With more than a million supporters, Ducks Unlimited is the world’s largest and most effective wetland and waterfowl conservation organization. The United States alone has lost more than half of its original wetlands - nature’s most productive ecosystem - and continues to lose more than 80,000 wetland acres each year.