Longtime Ducks Unlimited supporters and volunteers Craig Larson, a long-time successful businessman and community leader from Valley City, North Dakota, and his wife Shelley, recently received the Association of Fundraising Professionals (AFP) 2023 Lifetime Achievement Legacy Giving Award for their continued philanthropic support of conservation-based organizations.
Craig Larson Award.jpegNominated by Eric Lindstrom, DU's Managing Director of Development in the Great Plains, the Larsons were honored by the AFP's Northern Plains Chapter on National Philanthropy Day (November 16th, 2023) during a special luncheon at Bismarck State College, and recognized for their generous philanthropic support, community leadership, and charitable engagement with organizations across North Dakota.
As lifelong residents of North Dakota, Craig and Shelley have been staunch conservation champions and supported several NGO conservation groups working to enhance, conserve, and protect natural and wild resources within the Peace Garden State—groups like Ducks Unlimited, The Nature Conservancy, the National Audubon Society, and the North Dakota Natural Resources Trust, to name a few.
"We’re blessed to live in North Dakota, a state so rich in natural habitats and opportunities for outdoor activities," says Craig Larson. "Shelley and I appreciate the opportunity to support organizations like Ducks Unlimited that invest in the preservation of our environment and the wildlife that inhabit them."
Craig is an avid outdoorsman and staunch conservationist whose passion for archery hunting and big-game animals has led him across the Western U.S., and into Alaska and remote corners of Canada in search of adventure. When he isn't hunting, he invests in farm and ranch properties with the intent of restoring the landscapes back to native prairie habitat.
Professionally, Craig joined Starion Bank in 1985 and has since helped the business expand to 16 locations in North Dakota and Wisconsin. During his career, he served as Starion's Chief Operating Officer, President, Chief Executive Officer, and his current role of Chairman of the Board. More recently, in addition to being a devoted DU Prairie Champion, Craig accepted a role on DU's Wetland America Trust board.
Shelley is a talented artist who, like Craig, is an ardent conservationist and philanthropist, working closely with organizations throughout the Bismarck/Mandan community like the United Way, Ministry on the Margins, and other grassroots organizations.
"I've always enjoyed spending time in the countryside and incorporating landscapes into my art. Whenever I spend time outdoors, I feel happier and more at ease," says Shelley Larson. "I'm grateful for the work Ducks Unlimited does in preserving our unique North Dakota environment for everyone to enjoy."
Craig and Shelley also enjoy birdwatching, hiking and biking, and traveling across the country to spend time with their two daughters.
DU is proud of its relationship with the Larsons and congratulates them again on their award and continued commitment to restoring and protecting wetlands and landscapes for wildlife and future generations of North Dakotans.
Ducks Unlimited Inc. is the world's largest nonprofit organization dedicated to conserving North America's continually disappearing wetlands, grasslands and other waterfowl habitats. Established in 1937, Ducks Unlimited has restored or protected more than 18 million acres thanks to contributions from more than a million supporters across the continent. Guided by science, DU's projects benefit waterfowl, wildlife and people in all 50 states. DU is growing its mission through a historic $3 billion Conservation For A Continent capital campaign. Learn more at www.ducks.org.

Media Contact:
Ben Romans
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