When you volunteer with Ducks Unlimited, you join a family of conservationists. We come from all walks of life, but have one thing in common: a commitment to conservation.
Our reasons for that commitment may vary. Many of us want to preserve our hunting heritage. Others want to see full skies of waterfowl for generations to come. Still others want to conserve the wetlands and special places they've grown to love. No matter why you volunteer with Ducks Unlimited, we're glad to have you on board.
Let us introduce you to a few other dedicated DU volunteers. (And for MN volunteer spotlights from 2008, visit our archive.
|Scott Christensen, Central MN|
Scott got involved with DU about 14 years ago when he was asked by a neighbor and good friend if I would like to go to the Meeker County DU banquet. The following year he was asked to be on DU committee; well, that's all she wrote.
He soon got involved by being the membership chairman, with the help of his wonderful wife Michelle. Michelle has also been a big part of our local chapter. Scott was the area chairman for 3 years and then moved on to a zone chair position for the Central Region. As zone chair, he helped restart the Little Crow Chapter in Spicer. "I get a lot of satisfaction out of being a zone chairman when I can use my knowledge and experience to help other chapters, plan and set up and run their events". HIs latest volunteer opportunity came when I was appointed to the state volunteer recruitment coordinator position in 2013.
He is still very active in his local chapter. In 2013, he recruited five new Major Donor pledges through our Meeker County sponsor event. He and his wife also pledged to become life sponsors so that we could support DU’s Living Lakes Initiative program in Minnesota.
|Jerry Weltzin, Southeast MN|
|Jerry works hard for DU as a volunteer and as a mentor to young hunters.|
Jerry’s DU background started in 1992 when he went on his first ever duck hunting trip near Cottonwood, MN. Then he attended his first ever DU dinner event and was hooked. After a couple years attending the Zumbrota chapter dinner events, he became the area chair for several years. Then he was asked to step up to Zone Chair and he has been volunteering in that capacity since. Jerry and his wife attend the State Convention when time allows and are now Life Sponsors in Perpetuity. “The sponsorships each year add up to a life sponsor fairly fast when you go to a lot of events in one year. Our grand daughter Sophia was the first Legacy Greenwing in our chapter and now we have more. Some one makes the first move and others soon follow.”
Jerry continues to hunt and mentors to other young hunters. He invited a young man from his church, who he sponsored for confirmation, along to their cabin at the lake. “He loved it. He has become a part of our local committee and I hope he can stay with DU for his lifetime. The friends I’ve made and the good times I’ve had are some very good memories.”
|James 'Buck' Nordlof, Northwest MN|
|'Buck' and his son, Tanner, enjoy a successful duck hunt in fall 2008.|
James 'Buck' Nordlof attended his first DU event in the fall of 1993 and was involved with the Lake of the Woods committee in Baudette by the next summer. He has served as treasurer, committee chair and coordinates the sealed bid auction program. "DU has been a great experience for me over the years," says Nordlof. "It seems the more I get involved the more I enjoy it. I think DU is really a remarkable organization since it is powered by a large group of volunteers and only a small number of employees, which enables the organization to be efficient and put so many dollars towards conservation. Over the years I have seen many project areas while hunting in Northwest MN and the Dakotas. I also like the emphasis DU puts on the Greenwings by having special events, merchandise, etc., since they are the future of conservation and DU."
|Wayne Valentine, Southeast MN|
|Wayne Valentine is all smiles while he 'gives back.'|
Thirty-nine years ago, a new Ducks Unlimited chapter started in Winona. Wayne attended that event and has been a dedicated DU volunteer ever since. Wayne said, "I grew up hunting and fishing with my dad and 4 brothers. Dad always taught us that if we were going to take, we needed to give back." Serving as the Winona area chair and the sponsor chair for 35 years, Greenwing chair for 25 years and the silent bid auction coordinator since the program began, Wayne has certainly given back. It isn't about the recognition; it is about the lasting friendships of the guys on the committee, across the district and region for Wayne. He has enjoyed hunting in North Dakota on a DU project and hearing his Canadian fishing friends tell him that, even in dry years, they know they can count on DU to work on the wetlands. Growing the local Greenwing event from 10 to 200 youth and teaching his 3 grandsons helps Wayne feel satisfaction in knowing he is part of an organization working hard to give back. "People need to realize they will get more out of volunteering than they put in: the camaraderie, friendships, and knowing you are benefiting future generations is what it is all about."
|Doug Cardwell, Southwest MN|
|Cardwell and his son relax after working hard at a local fund-raising event.|
Doug Cardwell got involved with DU many years ago because he wanted to fill the skies and make sure the future hunters, such as his own kids, can enjoy waterfowl hunting like he has. He has served as a Greenwing chair, Area Chair, and currently serves as a Zone Chair for southwest Minnesota. Doug helps our environment as much as he can by being involved in several different organizations working to help our environment. "I will tell you DU is one of the best organizations I have ever dealt with. If you have the passion like I do, join your local chapter today. It's a great feeling to fill the skies with ducks. Like the old saying goes, fill the hall fill the skies. Plus, by joining DU you meet new people all the time."
|Scott Schmidt, Central MN|
|Scott Schmidt and his hunting buddy enjoy a day in the field.|
Scott Schmidt grew up enjoying hunting and fishing trips with his dad. He got involved with DU about 10 years ago when a friend invited him to attend a local DU committee meeting. "Not knowing what Ducks Unlimited was really about, I soon learned that it was more than just a group of duck hunters. It was a group of people who were passionate about preserving and protecting our environment and its natural resources." Now a zone chair, State Council member and State Convention Committee volunteer, Scott works with several chapters to help them focus on the big three: volunteer recruitment, fill the halls and event efficiency. "My experience with DU has been enjoyable, rewarding and satisfying to say the least. Knowing what you do for DU is actually making a difference by giving us cleaner water, improving our wetlands and grassland is very rewarding. The most satisfying aspect is to help put more birds in the skies not only for hunters, but for all people to enjoy. Another important part of DU is the opportunity to get young people involved in the organization as Greenwings. My three daughters are involved with DU and are learning to appreciate and value the outdoors. Over the years as a DU volunteer I have met some of the most interesting, amazing and wonderful people. During this time I have made lifelong friends both here close to home and across the country. One of the greatest things about DU is the dedication of its volunteers. Everyone is truly passionate about what DU does. This is why I am a DU volunteer."
|Terry Ethen, Northeast MN|
Terry Ethen surrounds himself with DU even when at his office.
Terry Ethen has been an active DU volunteer for 30 years. He has served as the treasurer for his local chapter since 1978; sponsor dinner chairman since 1983; zone chairman since the mid 80's and currently serves as a district chair. Terry enjoys the opportunity DU has given him to meet and know some very interesting people both from the local chapters with which he is personally involved up to the state level volunteers. "The people you meet don't have to be hunters but they all share a deep appreciation for the outdoors and what it means to us. Your involvement can be as much work as you want to make it. You will get more enjoyment and satisfaction from volunteering than what you put in. You don't have to be a hunter to be involved with DU, all you have to do is want the world to be a little better than the way you found it."
Are You Ready?
Are you ready to join the Ducks Unlimited team?
Become a volunteer! It's a great way to have fun, meet new people and support DU's conservation work.
For more information about volunteering for Ducks Unlimited in Minnesota, contact:
Volunteer Recruitment Chair
MN Volunteer Spotlight Archive - 2008