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Ducks Unlimited to invest $1 million in Saginaw Bay conservation - OH

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Bill Schlageter Memorial Program is wetlands and waterfowl conservation legacy of longtime DU volunteer

CLEVELAND, Ohio – May 7, 2007 – Wildfowl Bay is the perfect name and the perfect place to remember the late William (Bill) Schlageter. He spent decades hunting waterfowl, enjoying nature and sharing special times outdoors with friends there. Loved ones gathered one more time at the bay’s North Island on Saturday, April 28, to remember him. There they placed a bronze plaque to pay their respects and usher in another chapter of Schlageter’s conservation legacy.

The land on which they met will be protected forever through a conservation easement donated to Ducks Unlimited (DU), which has created the Bill Schlageter Memorial Program to honor Schlageter’s more than 40-year commitment to conservation as a DU volunteer in Ohio and Michigan. The world leader in wetlands and waterfowl conservation has pledged to invest $1 million in conservation work in and around North Island.

North Island provides key waterfowl habitat in Saginaw Bay and is a stopover point for migrating songbirds.

L to R: Steve Schlageter, David Schlageter, Director of DU’s Great Lakes/Atlantic Regional Office Bob Hoffman, Linda Schlageter  and Bill Schlageter Jr. at Bill Schlageter’s April 28 memorial on North Island.

The memorial dedication was part of a weekend-long celebration of Schlageter’s lifetime devotion to wetland and waterfowl conservation.

Born in Toledo, Ohio, Schlageter went on to attend the University of Detroit, where a new friend invited him hunting on Wildfowl Bay.

For more than four decades, they shared a blind, a boat or a patch of cattails, hunting waterfowl on North Island and throughout the bay. Schlageter felt deeply connected to the bay and made significant contributions to conservation work there, as a DU major donor and volunteer.

“I cannot begin to tell you how much conservation meant to Bill and how very knowledge he was about the earth and protecting it,” said Bill’s wife, Linda Schlageter.

Bill Schlageter was passionate about wetlands and waterfowl, and he devoted much of his life to the conservation of our natural resources through his volunteerism and financial contributions to Ducks Unlimited. He spent many years moving up through the DU volunteer ranks, holding several key positions with DU chapters in the Cleveland area, culminating in his appointment to the Conservation Programs Committee, where he was involved in shaping the future direction of DU’s national conservation programs. Alongside his passion for conservation was Schlageter’s love for Linda; their three sons, Bill Jr., Steve and David, and their 10 grandchildren, who were present at the dedication ceremony.

“Ducks Unlimited has been able to take significant steps toward our conservation mission because of Bill’s support,” said Bob Hoffman, director of DU’s Great Lakes/Atlantic Regional Office. “In memory of Bill’s passion for waterfowl, Ducks Unlimited and our natural resources, DU has established the Bill Schlageter Memorial Program. We will leverage our financial resources with our partners’ support to invest more than $1 million in waterfowl habitat restoration and protection projects in Saginaw Bay.”

The wetland habitat bearing Schlageter’s name lies within one of DU’s priority conservation areas, the Saginaw Bay watershed. The 18,000 acres of coastal wetlands associated with the bay make up one of the largest remaining freshwater coastal marsh systems in the nation, supporting more than 30 plant and animal species on the federal threatened and endangered list, as well as hundreds of other fish and wildlife species.

“Saginaw Bay and its watershed contain vast and diverse wetland and upland communities that provide significant habitat for breeding, migrating and wintering waterfowl,” said Russ Terry, DU manager of conservation programs. “Because of this, DU has identified the Saginaw Bay watershed as a priority landscape for our conservation efforts in the Great Lakes.”

For more information about the Bill Schlageter Memorial Program and conservation work in the Saginaw Bay watershed, please contact DU’s Great Lakes/Atlantic Regional Office at 734.623.2000.

With more than a million supporters, Ducks Unlimited is the world’s largest and most effective wetland and waterfowl conservation organization, with almost 12 million acres conserved. The United States has lost more than half of its original wetlands—nature’s most productive ecosystem—and continues to lose more than 80,000 acres each year.

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