The final results are still being tallied but Ducks Unlimited's 75th Anniversary event at the Blackhawk Auto Museum in Danville, California
, has netted at least $1.5 million, which is great news for the DU's wetlands conservation programs in the state and across the continent. To date, DU has protected, enhanced, or restored more than 700,000 acres across California.
"This is the first time we've held an event of this magnitude," said California DU state chairman Mark Low. "I am absolutely delighted with the overwhelming response from our members and volunteers. Their enthusiasm tells me we have their full support, and they're proud of the conservation work
More than 250 DU members, volunteers, and guests joined host DU Senior Vice President Paul Bonderson Jr. and CEO Dale Hall on March 1 for this black-tie dinner and auction at the Blackhawk Auto Museum. "DU's 75th Anniversary is a monumental moment in conservation history," Hall said. "This anniversary—and the past 75 years of science-based on-the-ground conservation work across North America—would not be possible without the dedication of our volunteers and supporters, as well as the partners who time and time again helped us succeed in our mission. This celebration is as much theirs as it is ours."
Guests included Doug Eberhardt of the Bank of Stockton, Andy Atkinson and others from the California Department of Fish and Game, and representatives from the California Waterfowl Association. In addition, DU's Stockton, De Anza, Placerville, Tri Valley, and Travis Air Force chapters attended in full.
Seated among the museum's world-renowned collection of vintage cars, attendees bid on a variety of auction items such as an Argentina pigeon hunt, an African big-game hunt with NB Safari's, a Costa Rica fishing trip, a 75th Anniversary Ruger Vaquero .45-caliber Long Colt revolver, a Christopher Smith bronze mallard sculpture, an original Jim Killen acrylic painting of the winner's favorite hunting dog, and much more.
"We thought this would be a one-time only event, just to celebrate our 75th Anniversary," Low said. "But I would bet my best shotgun we'll be doing it every year from now on."