MEMPHIS, Tenn. – June 10, 2014 – More than 1,100 volunteers, staff and special guests convened in the great city of St. Louis last week as part of Ducks Unlimited's (DU) annual convention.
Guest speakers during the week's business session included John Paul Morris, general manager of Bass Pro's online stores, who joined DU CEO Dale Hall on stage to give the audience a virtual walkthrough of the Bass Pro Shops destination store set to open in Memphis next year. The video tour focused on the Waterfowling Heritage Center, a space donated by Bass Pro Shops founder Johnny Morris that will feature numerous duck hunting and conservation elements. The duo also wowed the audience with a special message from NASCAR's Tony Stewart, driver of the Bass Pro Shops sponsored No. 14 Chevrolet, and John Paul Morris unveiled a new NASCAR paint scheme featuring the DU logo. The car will race at the Coke Zero 400 in Daytona on July 5.
"To cap off a week of such great camaraderie with the unveiling of the NASCAR paint scheme donated by Bass Pro Shops was tremendous," Hall said. "The unwavering commitment to conservation shown by the Morris family is nothing short of stellar. We truly appreciate the partnership we have with Bass Pro Shops and look forward to both the NASCAR racing in Daytona and the opening of the Waterfowling Heritage Center."
Other guest speakers during the business session included EPA Deputy Administrator Bob Perciasepe and Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia, who thrilled the crowd with stories of growing up hunting.
"It was truly an honor to have such a distinguished Supreme Court Justice speak to our volunteers in St. Louis," Hall said. "Justice Scalia has given opinions on some of the most impactful court cases in history, and to spend time with him was definitely a once-in-a-lifetime privilege."
Along with the great guest speakers, convention attendees also had the opportunity to tour St. Louis and historic hunting clubs and DU restoration projects in the region, visit the botanical gardens and get a lesson in beer brewing at the Anheuser Busch facility.
Capping off the week was a gala where DU volunteers and conservation enthusiasts raised nearly $200,000 for DU's mission.
Sponsors for this year's event included: Bird Dog Flavored Whiskey, Discover Financial Services, Jack Daniels, Kraftig Light, Monsanto, Nestle-Purina, United Country Auction Services and Winchester Ammunition.
For more information about next year's convention, May 27-31, 2015 in Milwaukee, visit www.ducks.org.
Ducks Unlimited Inc. is the world's largest non-profit organization dedicated to conserving North America's continually disappearing waterfowl habitats. Established in 1937, Ducks Unlimited has conserved more than 13 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. For more information on our work, visit www.ducks.org. Connect with us on our Facebook page at facebook.com/DucksUnlimited, follow our tweets at twitter.com/DucksUnlimited and watch DU videos at youtube.com/DucksUnlimitedInc.