Wayne Strand’s support for Ducks Unlimited began more than 23 years ago, when he attended his first DU dinner in White Earth, North Dakota. Today, he continues to support the organization as a volunteer for the Minot, North Dakota, chapter, but with a new twist: Wayne donates homemade wines to DU events from his small hobby farm, where he grows chokecherries and other ingredients for his wines.
In addition to his role as winemaker, Wayne is a self-proclaimed “rabid” walleye fisherman who never misses an opportunity to get out on the water. He supports Ducks Unlimited because of the organization’s conservation principles and focus on duck breeding habitat.
“If there is habitat there is everything else,” Wayne says.
Since retiring from his career with the local school district a few years ago, Wayne has devoted more of his time and support to helping DU fill the skies with waterfowl. “He has jumped in with both feet,” says DU Director of Development Chris Hildebrandt. “DU and the birds truly appreciate Wayne for bringing his talent and dedication to conservation.”
Wayne is a Grand Slam Life Sponsor and has made a planned gift to DU through his estate, which earned him Gold Feather Society status. He also committed to volunteer on the State Campaign Committee, which focuses on raising major gifts for DU’s mission through the Major Sponsor and Feather Society programs.
With his girlfriend, Debbie Dyste, by his side, Wayne has attended the past two DU national conventions and plans to travel to Hawaii for the 82nd annual convention in May. He recommends that all supporters passionate about DU’s mission attend at least one of these keystone events. “I’ve made lasting friendships at the conventions, and Debbie, who didn’t know much about DU initially, has been impressed with the people she has met there,” Wayne says.