MEMPHIS, Tenn. – March 13, 2014 – Jim Kennedy, a longtime Ducks Unlimited (DU) philanthropist and Wetlands America Trust board member, has reached an agreement with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS) to exchange a parcel of his personal land for a 306-acre parcel the USFWS owns in Tallahatchie County, Miss. USFWS is acquiring land that appraises at a higher amount than the 306-acre parcel, and will be used for wildlife habitat and public enjoyment.
"Tallahatchie County has untouched pieces of nature," Kennedy said. "This land exchange will help preserve the area and provide public access for current and future generations to enjoy the outdoors."
Kennedy and the USFWS reached the parcel exchange agreement earlier this year. In addition to the land, Kennedy is donating $350,000 to the USFWS through DU to further support public usage and habitat restoration of the Tallahatchie and Coldwater River National Wildlife Refuges.
"I’ve worked closely with Jim Kennedy for several years and he is a true advocate for conservation," said H. Dale Hall, USFWS Director (ret.) and current CEO of DU. "This exchange will be extremely beneficial to all involved and serves as an excellent example of good government working with land stewards. The public will benefit doubly by having all acres, both those owned by the FWS and those owned by Kennedy, protected in perpetuity. This is how partnerships in wildlife management should work."
Kennedy, chairman of Cox Enterprises, is a fervent conservationist of waterfowl and wildlife habitat. He recently donated real estate to create Mississippi State University's (MSU) Carsie Clark and Diane Worthington Young Wetland Education Theater. He also increased a previously established endowment for MSU’s James C. Kennedy Chair in Waterfowl and Wetlands Conservation.
"This land exchange is a win for both parties and we very much appreciate Mr. Kennedy’s willingness to work with us," said Stephen Gard, Project Leader for the North Mississippi Refuges Complex. "The exchange will create additional public hunting areas on both Coldwater River and Tallahatchie National Wildlife Refuges. Conservation of our natural resources by the private sector is the key to future generations enjoying these resources. Mr. Kennedy not only enjoys our natural resources, but he invests his personal resources to ensure future generations will also be able to enjoy them."
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.