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Banding Together for Waterfowl

Wildlife habitat reaps big benefits at DU's 75th anniversary celebration in California

Black-tie event raises more than $1.5 million for wetlands conservation
  • DU CEO Dale Hall speaks at the California 75th anniversary celebration
  • DU Senior Vice President and event host Paul Bonderson Jr. introduces DU's newest member: his newborn grandson
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RANCHO CORDOVA, Calif. – March 7, 2012 – The total is still being tallied, but Ducks Unlimited's 75th anniversary event at the Blackhawk Auto Museum in Danville, Calif., has netted at least $1.5 million, which is great news for wetlands conservation programs in California and across America. To date, DU has conserved and restored more than 700,000 acres of waterfowl habitat in California.

"This is the first time we've held an event of this magnitude in California," said Mark Low, DU state chairman. "I am absolutely delighted with the overwhelming response from our members and volunteers. Their enthusiasm tells me we have their full support and they are proud of the conservation work DU is doing."

More than 250 DU members, guests and volunteers joined host Paul Bonderson Jr. and DU CEO Dale Hall on Thursday, March 1, for the dinner and auction. Hall traveled from DU headquarters in Memphis, Tenn., to help celebrate the milestone event.

"DU's 75th anniversary is a monumental moment in conservation history," said Dale Hall, CEO of Ducks Unlimited. "This anniversary—and the past 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."

Guests included Doug Eberhardt of the Bank of Stockton; Andy Atkinson and other members of the California Department of Fish & Game; the California Waterfowl Association; and, in addition to many individual DU members, the entire Stockton, De Anza, Placerville, Tri Valley and Travis Air Force DU chapters.

Seated amidst the world-renowned collection of vintage cars, attendees bid on items including a pigeon hunt in Argentina, an African hunt with NB Safaris, a Costa Rican sport fishing trip, a 75th Anniversary Ruger Vaquero .45 Long Colt revolver, a Christopher Smith bronze sculpture of mallards and an original Jim Killen watercolor to be painted by the famed artist from a photograph of the bidder’s favorite hunting dog(s).

"We thought this would be a one-time event, just to celebrate our 75th," said Low. "But I would bet my best shotgun we’ll be doing it every year from now on."

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. Visit the DU website, www.ducks.org, for more information.

Wendy Hopkins
(916) 852-2000


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