NASHVILLE, Tenn. – May 30, 2012 – If you hear duck calls in the distance this week, look no further than the 75th Ducks Unlimited National Convention, at the Gaylord Opryland Resort and Convention Center from May 30 to June 3. This week of tours, entertainment, special guest speakers, executive meetings, camaraderie and fun activities for the whole family will be the high point of the organization's yearlong 75th anniversary celebration.
"We are looking forward to our most memorable, fun-filled national convention to date as we celebrate 75 years of conservation success in North America," said DU CEO Dale Hall. "We've packed the week with inspirational speakers, talented musical guests and plenty of opportunities to explore the great city of Nashville—it's going to be a great week!"
While a private pre-convention tour of the Jack Daniel's Distillery awaited the earliest arrivals on Tuesday evening, the real celebration begins today, with a full day of tours featuring historic homes and some of the Music City's most famous landmarks, as well as a sporting clays shoot and golf tournament. The day of fun and sightseeing will be capped off with the first-ever DU Family Reunion on Wednesday evening, providing DU supporters from across the country the opportunity to meet far-flung friends and revel in the organization's 75-year history.
"The sights and sounds of national convention would not make great stories without the friendships and fellowship shared by Ducks Unlimited volunteers, staff and supporters that come together for this week of celebration," said DU President John Newman. "These passionate individuals dedicate their time and treasures to DU's conservation mission all year long, and this special week gives them the chance to unwind, make new friends and catch up with old ones—these friendships are at the heart of our DU family."
Thursday's highlights will include a special visit from Interior Secretary Ken Salazar as he signs a revision to the North American Waterfowl Management Plan and holds a Town Hall meeting with DU leaders and the media.
Later Thursday afternoon, The Pew Charitable Trusts and Ducks Unlimited will extend their partnership for another 10 years and redouble efforts to safeguard Canada's boreal forest, the largest intact forest on earth, after a decade of unprecedented progress. The work is based on a "50-50" concept that provides strict protections for half of the boreal forest, with sustainable standards applied to the rest.
Pew and DU's effort brings together Canada's First Nations, federal and provincial governments, as well as industry, to achieve bold new conservation measures, and is part of a century of U.S.-Canadian collaboration to safeguard North America's natural resources. Successes include Ontario's Far North Act, Quebec's Plan Nord, the Canadian Boreal Forest Agreement, establishment of the Mealy Mountains National Park in Labrador and Newfoundland and expansion of Nahanni National Park.
On Thursday evening, convention attendees will enjoy an exclusive Grand Ole Opry performance, featuring special guests John Conlee, The Grascals, Edens Edge, Darryl Worley and Grammy-winning recording artists Diamond Rio.
Dozens of influential speakers will grace the convention stage Friday and Saturday, including Tennessee Sen. Lamar Alexander and Gov. Bill Haslam; friends from throughout the outdoor and conservation industries, such as The Outdoor Channel and "Field & Stream" magazine; and top executives from the DU trifecta (Ducks Unlimited Inc., DU Canada and DU de Mexico).
"This year's convention will be a great opportunity to hear from some of the most influential people in the conservation arena—Secretary Salazar, bold DU visionaries past and present and Tennessee's political leadership," Hall said. "We thank the secretary, Senator Alexander, Governor Haslam and The Pew Charitable Trusts for joining the DU family for this unforgettable moment in our history."
Seats are still available for the convention and more information is available online at www.ducks.org/nationalconvention.
Ducks Unlimited is the world's largest nonprofit organization dedicated to conserving North America's continually disappearing waterfowl habitats. Established in 1937, DU is celebrating its 75th anniversary this year, with special events, projects and promotions across the continent. 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. 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.