Ducks Unlimiteds vision is skies filled with waterfowl today, tomorrow, and forever. But this vision would be unattainable without the passion and dedication of DU donors and volunteers investing in events and conservation programs.

Evening of Conservation events bring supporters and prospective supporters together to learn how their philanthropic investments can make a difference for waterfowl, other wildlife, and people. In Wisconsin, Greg and Marsha Meissner of Sturgeon Bay and Brian Hornung of Madison recently hosted Evening of Conservation events in their communities.

Greg Meissner is a member of DUs Board of Directors and the most recent past Wisconsin state chair. He and Marsha are DU Benefactor Sponsors supporting several programs across the continent. Enlisting the support of their family at Meissner Landscape, they organized an Evening of Conservation and invited like-minded people with an appreciation for the natural world. The event was held at the Meissners beautiful home and lush gardens. Having ample time for conversation over drinks and hors doeuvres during the evening was critical to building relationships and trust, Greg said. Most importantly, it shows the impact of the funds people are giving the organization.

Greg and Marsha Meissner

Inviting personal and business contacts, Greg and Marsha hosted more than 30 people at the event. Dr. Christine Thomas, DU advisory senior vice president for conservation, and Brian Glenzinski, DU manager of conservation programs, spoke about conservation outcomes in the region. The Meissners added impactful comments, explaining why they choose to invest in DU through charitable giving. The evening resulted in more than $60,000 committed for conservation.

Brian Hornung is the chief operating officer at Findorff Construction, a 132-year-old firm in Madison. He took a slightly different approach, engaging people and companies in his business network who have a shared appreciation for the outdoors. Getting a group together with a concise agenda was important, he said. These are incredibly busy people, particularly in this business climate. Still, I strongly feel that even in this economic environment there is a real need for support of a good cause, and that cause is Ducks Unlimited. Brians event lasted just over 90 minutes and allowed time for networking while still making a case that attendees should invest in DU.

(Left to right) Brian Hornung, Joe Thomas, Dr. Christine Thomas, and George Dunklin Jr.

With more than 80 executives in the room, Brian orchestrated a hall-of-fame presentation with Dr. Christine Thomas, former DU President George Dunklin Jr., and University of Wisconsin Badger legend Joe Thomas. While Christine and George eloquently communicated the mission and vision of DU, Joe motivated the group by saying, [My wife] Annie and I give to a few organizations. When we give to DU, they leverage the investment, and the results are everlasting for future generations to appreciate and enjoy. Brian closed the program by asking the attendees to join him in his support of DU.

The ducks owe a great debt to Greg, Marsha, Brian, and the team at Findorff Construction. Their willingness to get people together for an Evening of Conservation turns conversation into conservation.