Senior Ducks Unlimited volunteers meet with senators and representatives on Capitol Hill to promote waterfowl habitat priorities
WASHINGTON – February 29, 2008 - Senior Ducks Unlimited volunteers George Dunklin, Jr. of DeWitt, Ark. and Hal Hillman of Carlisle, Ark. traveled to Washington D.C. to meet with representatives, senators and other policymakers to discuss the organization’s conservation priorities. Both Dunklin and Hillman met individually with Arkansas Sens. Mark Pryor and Blanche Lincoln and Rep. Marion Berry as well as their staff. The volunteers also met briefly with Rep. Mike Ross and his staff.
Dunklin and Hillman are active volunteers on Ducks Unlimited’s Conservation Program Committee, a volunteer group that helps to guide the conservation organization’s direction in achieving its waterfowl and wetlands conservation mission.
Dunklin and Hillman encouraged Congress to support strong conservation measures in the farm bill and appropriations for the North American Wetlands Conservation Act (NAWCA).
CPC members were also joined by members of the House and Senate at a Capitol Hill reception to celebrate the beginning of the waterfowl nesting season. The reception also gave members of Congress from around the country a chance to interact with the volunteers.
“I made this trip to Capitol Hill so our members of Congress could hear firsthand about the importance of wetlands conservation in my area,” said Hillman. “There is a reason that I am passionate about waterfowl and wetlands conservation, and I want to share that passion with my members of Congress.”
“Letting our representatives in Washington know that their constituents are informed and concerned about the future of the farm bill is one of the best ways to ensure its reauthorization,” said Ross Melinchuk director of public policy for Ducks Unlimited’s Southern Regional Office.
Hillman and Dunklin have been dedicated members of Ducks Unlimited for over 20 years. They know that the rich wetland resources that occur in Arkansas benefit people and provide excellent duck hunting opportunities. “I am determined to ensure Congress enacts legislation sufficient to protect these resources for the future,” Dunklin said.
The farm bill, which is being debated in conference between the House and the Senate, has several conservation provisions that are farmer-friendly and needed for waterfowl and wetlands habitat conservation. CPC members reminded their senators and representatives that farm bill programs are critical to protect millions of acres of breeding and wintering habitat for waterfowl.
CPC members also talked to their members of Congress about appropriations for NAWCA, a popular matching grants program that has conserved more than 23 million acres of habitat across North America. One of the most cost-effective conservation programs in history, NAWCA projects usually leverage $2 to $3 in partner contributions for every $1 from the federal government.
With more than a million supporters, Ducks Unlimited is the world’s largest and most effective wetland and waterfowl conservation organization with over 12 million acres conserved. 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.
Contact: Jennifer P. Kross
For more information, please visit www.ducks.org/farmbill and www.ducks.org/nawca