When Rogers Hoyt, Jr., looks back on his life, three powerful things lie at the heart of his story: family, faith, and friendship. Interwoven with each is a passion for the outdoors. "I was raised on a rice farm on the Texas Gulf Coast and my whole family hunted – grandfathers, father, and cousins. These great people were part of Ducks Unlimited and led me to the organization during my time in the field," he said. "What really drove me to be involved with conservation was my appreciation of God's beautiful creations. Making sure these birds are available forever is at the heart of my stewardship."
These values have underpinned Rogers' efforts as he has risen through DU's ranks to become president of Ducks Unlimited de Mexico (DUMAC) and the advisory senior vice president of membership on DU's board of directors. He and his wife, Camille, are also DU Heritage Sponsors.
Rogers' career as a DU volunteer began in the mid-1980s when he served on a local committee. From there, he would become a zone chairman, district chairman, and finally Texas state chairman in 1992. After serving as state chair, Rogers tells of how friend and past DU President Johnny Walker first asked him to serve on DU's board of directors, and then recruited him for the DUMAC board. "We were hunting partners and we grew to be close friends – how could I tell him no?" Rogers said.
"It was natural with my concern for what happens across the border that I be involved with DUMAC," Rogers continued. "If you live in South Texas, you are connected to Mexico, its culture, and its special people. Many of the wetlands in Mexico are pristine, and as a DUMAC volunteer, I want to see those habitats protected in perpetuity."
Beginning their journey in Canada and migrating down the flyways, many of the birds we see in the United States each year spend the winter in the mangrove swamps and other diverse habitats of Mexico. During these cold months, Mexico hosts most of North America's teal population and large numbers of pintails, as well as other many species of waterfowl and shorebirds.
After serving as vice president for five years and helping the organization reach nearly 2 million acres of protected habitat, Rogers was named DUMAC's new president at the 2013 DU National Convention in Portland, Oregon. Under his steadfast leadership, DUMAC will celebrate its landmark 40th anniversary in 2014.
Of all the aspects of DU's work that have inspired Rogers' leadership over the years, he says one of the most impressive has been its impact on society. "Restored wetlands prevent storm damage and help purify our drinking water," he explained. "The work DU does throughout North America benefits all of us."
Over the years, Rogers has also passed on his lifelong respect for conservation to his son, Rogers Hoyt III. "He was 8 years old when I was Texas state chair, so he grew up in the DU culture," the elder Rogers said. "I know he will continue to be environmentally responsible; he has the same love of waterfowl and wildlife I have."
Rogers' story was featured in the 2013 Ducks Unlimited Annual Report. For more information on becoming a DU Major Sponsor, please visit our Leadership Giving homepage or contact Senior Manager of Development Operations Anita Tyler at (901) 758-3871 or firstname.lastname@example.org