Dan Kreitman was introduced to Ducks Unlimited by his high school English teacher who took him to a DU banquet in the 1970s. Now he and his wife, Patty, are doing the same for other youth.

In todays world, we need to embrace our youth and introduce them to the outdoors. We must recruit them and retain them, otherwise we are going to lose our outdoors heritage, Dan said.

The Nebraska couple were recently honored by the University of Nebraska Lincoln (UNL) DU chapter for annually sponsoring six UNL students to go to DUs Third Term leadership conference for young people. They also have dedicated a major gift to underwrite the conference.

Dans commitment to youth was strengthened when he went to the UNL chapter banquet.

I saw more energy at that banquet than I have seen in years. These college students are amazing. I knew our gift was well-invested, Dan said. Some of them did not grow up in a hunting family. One such student started a chapter for another conservation organization. The same thing happens in DU.

He says he may have never gotten involved in DU without his teacher, Paul Packs, involvement. The two started a DU chapter in Ceresco, Nebraska, in 1983. His mentor, who passed away four years ago, became his best friend. Dan has also gotten to know some of the students he has sponsored.

One of their fathers invited me to come out and sit in a duck blind with them. I dont know of a better place to learn about people than sitting together in a blind, he said.

Patty and Dan also made a challenge gift to sponsor the Green Wings Puddler magazine that was matched by a California foundation.

Dan is now a Nebraska Game and Parks commissioner. The Kreitmans gifts will give the next generation the opportunity to learn about and embrace the challenge of conserving the great outdoors.