Ducks Unlimited is one of America’s largest conservation organizations, but without the generosity of its donors, DU could not have conserved more than 14.5 million acres. To commemorate those who contribute $100,000 or more to prairie conservation, DU’s Coteau Ranch is the site of the Donor Dedication Wall, a metalwork piece made up of nine panels decorated with cattails, ducks and plaques bearing the names of donors who helped support the Great Plains Region (GPR).
“This special site recognizes and celebrates some of DU’s very best supporters from across North America,” said Eric Lindstrom, GPR managing director of development. “We’re honored they’ve invested their time, energy and resources to help advance our critical conservation efforts in the Prairies.”
Due to the great generosity of Ducks Unlimited’s prairie donors, new display panels needed to be created. The original designer of the dedication wall was unavailable to build new panels, so GPR turned to Italian-trained blacksmith John Barron. Barron was instrumental in the original production of the wall and was eager to add to the piece.
Barron, from Georgetown, Calif., has been in the blacksmith trade since 1975. He started building handrails and stair systems, but as his skills grew, he began to enjoy smaller, more detailed art projects. He is currently self-employed and builds beautiful metalwork pieces for his customers.
“The Donor Dedication Site is a beautiful piece of art that continues to fill up with names of the major sponsors who provide essential fuel to make prairie conservation happen,” Lindstrom said.