U.S. Secretary of Agriculture Tom Vilsack joined conservation stakeholders at the Willard Intercontinental Hotel in Washington, D.C., on April 16 to recognize Ducks Unlimited's 75th anniversary. The evening kicked off several days of activity in the nation's capital, including volunteer visits on Capitol Hill and DU's Capitol Hill Gala on April 17.
"I'm happy to have the opportunity to wish DU a happy anniversary. It gives me a chance to talk about how important DU is, and how the biologists and the technical assistance extend our work at the USDA. It's an important partnership," Vilsack said. "However, there is a component to your work that is often under reported. At a time when we are looking for the survival and prosperity of rural areas, outdoor recreation is, in my view, a key strategy in a revitalized rural economy. So, not only are you doing right by the land, you're doing right by the people."
The evening held historic meaning, not only because of the anniversary, but also because of the event's location.
"It was right here at the Willard Hotel that our visionary predecessors signed the papers that incorporated Ducks Unlimited," said DU President John Newman. "Thanks to their careful planning, we stand here today with many achievements under our belts, but much still to do."
Ducks Unlimited presented a bronze plaque to the Willard recognizing its place in DU's history.
Ducks Unlimited is celebrating its anniversary, but remains mindful that the North American Wetlands Conservation Act (NAWCA) is currently up for reauthorization by Congress. NAWCA's funding is guaranteed through Sept. 30, but House and Senate support for active NAWCA reauthorization measures is critical to keeping the program alive and ensuring the future of America's wetlands. DU has issued a call to action for its supporters to contact their members of Congress regarding House and Senate legislation. More information is available at www.ducks.org/nawca.