Michigan Ducks Unlimited Receives Largest Private Donation in History
Contribution Designated for Conservation Work in
Ann Arbor, MI – September 14, 2006 – In July 2006, Ducks Unlimited (DU) received the largest private donation in Michigan DU history! The anonymous donor, a long-time supporter of Ducks Unlimited, avid hunter, fly fisherman and conservationist, pledged $1 million in support of Ducks Unlimited conservation work in west Michigan.
“Habitat destruction, particularly in the southern third of the state, has been extreme and is expected to continue at an alarming rate,” says Ducks Unlimited Regional Biologist, Russ Terry. “DU’s Great Lakes/Atlantic Regional Office recently developed the Southeast Lake Michigan Watershed Focus Area to address habitat loss in southwest Michigan, a region particularly important to breeding mallards and wood ducks. DU is extremely excited about this very generous philanthropic gift in support of our conservation efforts in this region. It will allow us to accelerate our important work and make a lasting impact on the landscape.”
According to DU Director of Development Todd Bishop, “The timing of the gift coincides with the public announcement of Wetlands for Tomorrow, the largest conservation campaign in Ducks Unlimited’s 70-year history.” The public phase of the $1.7 billion “Wetlands for Tomorrow” campaign was announced in May at DU’s National Convention. The need to conserve North America’s wetlands has never been greater and the five-year campaign has nine conservation initiatives that span the continent. Ducks Unlimited conservation efforts in Michigan fall under the umbrella of two of these initiatives: the Mallard Conservation Initiative which will conserve vital breeding, migration and wintering habitat in the Great Lakes region, Chesapeake Bay, the Mississippi River watershed, the Columbia Basin and key areas of California and the Threatened Wetlands Initiative which will protect, restore and manage vital wetlands in strategic locations across the continent “The donor’s wish to support Ducks Unlimited in this way is a perfect fit with both of these campaign initiatives,” said Bishop.
The anonymous donor is concerned about the dramatic changes that have occurred across the landscape in southwest Michigan over the past decades and the impact this has had on populations of fish, wildlife and local citizens’ quality of life. He came to know DU through the volunteers and members of his local chapter, of which he is a long-standing supporter and is confident in the ability of Ducks Unlimited to leverage these funds and to turn them into quality habitat on the landscape. This habitat will benefit waterfowl, shore and wading birds, a diversity of other wetland and grassland-dependent fish and wildlife, and future generations of west Michigan residents.
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.