Wetlands America Trust

© Michael Furtman


Ducks and Gators forge new Partnership
Thanks to the tremendous generosity of Elisabeth DeLuca, more than 27,000 acres of iconic Florida prairie and wetlands habitat have been permanently protected through a unique partnership between Ducks Unlimited (DU) and the University of Florida.


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The goal of Wetlands America Trust is to provide specialized financial and philanthropic support to Ducks Unlimited. It's been that way since WAT was created more than 25 years ago, and it will remain the primary focus for decades to come.

WAT's principle role is the fiduciary responsibility for DU's endowment and land holdings. WAT is also one of the nation's largest accredited land trusts, holding conservation easements on more than 400,000 acres. Not only has WAT been successful with this charge, the trustees have individually taken up the mantle to introduce DU and conservation programs to their friends, family and colleagues.

Three committees lead the day-to-day activities of the Trust. Chaired by Doug Frey, and using the trustees' vast personal and business networks to recruit new hunter-conservationists, the Development Committee undertakes highly individualized and directed fundraising for DU. Past DU President John Tomke chairs the Government Affairs Committee to build strong relationships with policy makers and to educate public officials on policy issues essential to DU's conservation mission, while the Governance Committee – chaired by Doug Oberhelman – identifies and recommends potential trustees and manages WAT's governance considerations.

WAT Trustees are all recognized leaders in business and their professions. Each is a passionate waterfowl hunter who is committed to habitat conservation.


Steve Maritz—President 
Doug Oberhelman—Vice President 
Wendell Weakley—Secretary/Treasurer 
Dan Thiel—Chief Operating Officer


James (Jim) W. Ayers 
Paul R. Bonderson Jr. 
Gary Butler 
John S. Dale
William F. (Bill) D’Alonzo 
George Dunklin 
Doug Frey 
David Grieve 
David F. (Dave) Grohne 
Rogers S. Hoyt, Jr
Orrin H. Ingram II 
James C. (Jim) Kennedy 
Jim Konkel 
Bruce Lauritzen 
Andrew Lundquist 
David McLean 
Johnny Morris 
John Nau 
Robert Pace 
Adam Putnam 
Dan Ray 
Doug Schoenrock 
Joseph (Joe) Sivewright 
Charles (Chuck) F. Smith, Jr. 
Mark Stitzer 
Matthew (Matt) Stuller, Sr. 
John W. Thompson 
John A. Tomke 
William E. (Will) Walker III 
David K. (Deke) Welles Jr. 
Stephen (Steve) W. Whatley 


John W. Berry Jr. 
Rosemarie Buntrock 
John Childs 
William (Billy) B. Dunavant, Jr. 
Gene Henry 
Bob Hester 
Jim Hulbert 
Bruce Lewis 
L.J. Mayeux, Jr., M.D. 
Philip (Phil) McNeill, Sr. 
John Newman 
Saf Peacock 
John Pope 
Donald (Don) Rollins 
Tod Sedgwick 
Reed (Beau) Turner

Click here to make a gift to DU online

Please contact Dan Thiel for more information on Wetlands America Trust:
dthiel@ducks.org or 901-758-3823.