MEMPHIS, Tenn. – Jan. 26, 2012 – This Sunday, Jan. 29, marks Ducks Unlimited's 75th anniversary. Started by four sportsmen on a mission to save North America's waterfowl populations—and the continent's strong waterfowling traditions—DU's humble beginnings came during the Great Depression and one of the worst droughts in history, far from ideal circumstances.
But seven decades later, Ducks Unlimited is celebrating 75 years of conservation success due to the tireless support and efforts of DU's founders, generations of DU members and supporters, volunteers, partners and champions of the organization's conservation mission.
"DU's 75th anniversary is a monumental moment in conservation history," said Dale Hall, CEO of Ducks Unlimited. "This anniversary—and the last 75 years of science-based, on-the-ground conservation work across North America—would not be possible without the dedication of our volunteers and supporters, as well as the partners who time and time again helped us succeed in our mission. This celebration is as much theirs as it is ours."
Ducks Unlimited's 75th anniversary celebration will continue throughout the year with special events in each state, merchandise, projects and promotions across the continent. The kickoff anniversary event will be held in New York City, home to DU's first headquarters. The gala event will be held Feb. 2 at the Waldorf Astoria Hotel, in conjunction with the international World Wetlands Day celebration.
A new section of the DU website, located at www.ducks.org/75, provides a comprehensive chronicling of the organization's conservation legacy. The site features an interactive timeline, a listing of all the anniversary events in 2012, special video messages from DU's partners and supporters and exciting stories and little-known facts from throughout DU's history.
DU's 75th anniversary book, "The Ducks Unlimited Story," was released in December. This 208-page coffee-table book by Michael Furtman covers DU's first 75 years and features never-before-seen photos and documents from the DU archives. This book is available online now and a special edition will be offered at DU events throughout 2012.
Also highlighted online and in print this year will be 50 state projects lauded as DU's best of the best. Conservation staff chose a project from each state for stand-out impact and the project's representation of DU's 75 years of conservation work. These project profiles are featured on the DU website and will be displayed at DU state conventions and 75th anniversary events nationwide.
"Conservation for Generations" is the theme of the 75th anniversary celebration, with an emphasis on conserving wetlands and waterfowl for future generations, as well as getting those future generations involved with DU today, by bringing a new hunter to the duck blind or purchasing a Greenwing youth membership for a child.
"We're taking time on this landmark anniversary to reflect on the DU legacy that brought us to where we are today, but we will never stop looking ahead," Hall said. "The future of wetlands, waterfowl and our hunting traditions will soon be in the hands of our children and grandchildren; it is our responsibility to preserve and pass down that heritage and equip them to respect the resource and work to conserve it as we do today."
Ducks Unlimited is the world's largest nonprofit organization dedicated to conserving North America's continually disappearing waterfowl habitats. Established in 1937, Ducks Unlimited has conserved more than 12 million acres thanks to contributions from more than a million supporters across the continent. Guided by science and dedicated to program efficiency, DU works toward the vision of wetlands sufficient to fill the skies with waterfowl today, tomorrow and forever.