MEMPHIS, Tenn. - Jan. 26, 2023 - Sunday, Jan. 29, marks the 86th anniversary of Ducks Unlimited (DU), the world's largest wetlands and waterfowl conservation organization.

In 1937, a small group of visionaries and community leaders set out to save North America's waterfowl populations while celebrating the continent's strong waterfowling heritage. Stressing the critical role wetlands play across North America, DU committed to this mission at the height of the Great Depression and one of the worst droughts in history.

Today, DU is the premier organization promoting wetlands conservation. Its work has led to the conservation of more than 15 million acres and counting, thanks to tireless support from generations of DU members, volunteers and partners who are part of the organization's mission to conserve and restore wetlands and other vital habitats for North America's waterfowl.

"Thanks to the passion and steadfast dedication of our more than 1 million volunteers, members and supporters, Ducks Unlimited has produced phenomenal results in 86 years," said DU President Chuck Smith. "That dedication was evident as 575,000 acres of habitat were protected or restored in Fiscal Year 2022. DU's mission brings us together and delivers results. We're accelerating our efforts to reach 16 million acres in record time."

DU is the world's largest and most effective private, nonprofit waterfowl and wetlands conservation organization. DU delivers its work through partnerships with private individuals, landowners, agencies, scientific communities and other entities.

"Ducks Unlimited was founded on conserving wetlands and associated upland habitat to ensure healthy waterfowl populations," said DU Chief Conservation Officer Dr. Karen Waldrop. "What we have found over more than eight decades as a leader in habitat conservation and restoration is that our efforts benefit waterfowl and many other species of wildlife, people and communities."

Wetlands refill and purify groundwater, mitigate floods and reduce soil erosion. They are also North America's most productive ecosystems, providing critical habitat to more than 900 wildlife species and invaluable recreation opportunities for people to enjoy. In addition, strategic DU projects have protected communities, agriculture, local economies, homes and even lives from the destructive impacts of flooding, erosion and severe weather. Local communities throughout North America use DU-conserved wetlands for recreation, hunting, education and improved quality of life.

"Ducks Unlimited's original investment in recovering devastated waterfowl populations was limited to protecting prairie wetlands in Canada," said DU CEO Adam Putnam. "In 1984, we began work inside the United States, and we've since conserved more than 15 million acres of wetlands and worked with partners to protect nearly 1 billion acres of Boreal Forest. Our founders would be proud to know their vision not only lives on, it's also now saving over half a million acres of critical habitat each year."

Ducks Unlimited Inc. is the world's largest nonprofit organization dedicated to conserving North America's continually disappearing waterfowl habitats. Established in 1937, Ducks Unlimited has conserved more than 15 million acres thanks to contributions from more than a million supporters across the continent. Guided by science and dedicated to program efficiency, DU works toward the vision of wetlands sufficient to fill the skies with waterfowl today, tomorrow and forever. For more information on our work, visit