MEMPHIS, Tenn. – Jan. 12, 2017 – Sunday, Jan. 29, marks Ducks Unlimited’s (DU’s) 80th anniversary. Started by a small group of sportsmen on a mission to save North America’s waterfowl populations – and the continent’s strong waterfowling traditions – DU was founded in 1937 during the Great Depression and one of the worst droughts in history, far from ideal circumstances for an organization in its infancy.
Eight decades later, DU is celebrating 80 years of conservation success due to the tireless support and efforts of generations of DU members, volunteers and partners who have championed the organization’s critical conservation mission to conserve and restore wetlands and other vital habitats for North America’s waterfowl.
“DU’s 80th anniversary is a milestone in conservation history,” said DU CEO Dale Hall. “This anniversary would not be possible without the dedication of our volunteers and supporters, as well as the many agency and organizational partners who, time and time again, have helped us succeed in our mission.”
Over the last 80 years, DU has completed more than 100,000 conservation projects and conserved more than 13.8 million acres across North America through on-the-ground, science-based conservation work.
“For 80 years, the men and women of Ducks Unlimited have stood shoulder to shoulder with the Fish and Wildlife Service, the states and our counterparts in Canada and Mexico, playing a vital role in successful efforts to conserve and protect North America's waterfowl populations and wetland habitat for future generations. As we work to address the conservation challenges of the 21st century, DU's conservation work and the support of its members have never been more crucial,” said U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service Director Dan Ashe. “On behalf of the Service, I want to congratulate DU for reaching this milestone, and thank the entire organization and its members for your advocacy, passion and commitment to conservation.”
The anniversary also coincides with DU’s latest campaign, “Rescue Our Wetlands: Banding Together for Waterfowl.” The $2 billion continental campaign was launched at the organization’s 78th annual convention in Milwaukee, and is one of the most ambitious conservation campaigns ever undertaken. Funds raised through the campaign will be used to conserve vital wetlands and other wildlife habitats on North America's most important waterfowl landscapes.
“Every DU member, partner and supporter has a role to play in Rescue Our Wetlands, and can help us achieve our conservation priorities of protecting, restoring or enhancing critical wetlands habitat across the continent,” Hall said. “While this anniversary is a landmark for the organization, we must not lose sight of how we arrived where we are today: the hard work of volunteers and partners. We must all continue to do our part, right now, to ensure wetlands sufficient to fill the skies with waterfowl today, tomorrow and forever.”
To help celebrate the milestone, Ducks Unlimited magazine and DU’s website and social media channels will feature anniversary stories and promotions, and the organization will celebrate 80 years of conservation during its annual national convention in San Antonio.
Ducks Unlimited Inc. 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 13.8 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.