MEMPHIS, Tenn., July 27, 2010 – U.S. Secretary of the Interior Ken Salazar unveiled a special edition Federal Duck Stamp cachet during a press conference held at Ducks Unlimited national headquarters here today. Proceeds from the voluntary purchase of the cachet will be used to acquire wetlands for inclusion in national wildlife refuges along the Gulf Coast.
"Today, the wildlife of the Gulf Coast faces new threats – from the current oil spill to disappearing wetlands – that we must rise to confront," Secretary Salazar said. "This special edition duck stamp cachet will provide hunters and other conservationists the opportunity to once again go beyond the call of duty by conserving disappearing wetlands for generations to come."
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"This new collectible cachet will help raise badly needed funds for our tremendously important national wildlife refuges along the Gulf Coast," Dale Hall, DU CEO, said. "I urge all DU supporters to purchase one to help restore habitat in those refuges."
Among the nearly 100 persons attending the press conference today were Rowan Gould, acting director of the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service; Evan Hirsche, executive director of the National Wildlife Refuge Association; Johnny Morris, founder and CEO of Bass Pro Shops and members of the DU board of directors. A representative of U.S. Sen. Lamar Alexander (TN) was also in attendance.
"As conservation leaders, we know there is a real sense of urgency in our efforts to restore the treasured wetlands of the Gulf Coast," Hall said. "As each day passes, an average of 50 acres of coastal wetlands are lost in Louisiana alone - and with those acres, another piece of the Gulf Coast's heritage is lost and another piece of its future slips away. Working together, we must strive to restore these magnificent wetlands so future generations will be able to enjoy their rich bounty of fish and wildlife."
The cachet features a silk rendering of an award-winning photograph of St. Marks National Wildlife Refuge on the Gulf Coast of Florida by David Moynahan, as well as the 2010-2011 Federal Duck Stamp, which depicts an American wigeon painted by artist Robert Bealle of Waldorf, Md.
Starting today, the cachet may be purchased nationwide for $25 - which includes the 2010-2011 Federal Duck Stamp - at www.duckstamp.com or by dialing 1-800-852-4897. Bass Pro is underwriting the first edition of the cachet and will market it in its retail stores across the United States and Canada.
Morris thanked those who have dedicated their lives, talents and energies to ensure healthy fish and wildlife habitat for future generations. "We are blessed to live in America where we have the finest conservation model in the world," he said.
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.