Roseann Harkins knows a lot about the value of land. She has worked in real estate for 42 years and has built a highly successful development company that is based in Newark, Delaware. On the cusp of retirement, the longtime Ducks Unlimited supporter became interested in donating property to DU, but she wasn't sure whether the land would be worth conserving for waterfowl and other wildlife.

"I had some 50 acres of property that I thought might be worth conserving," Roseann explains. "I understood the property's commercial value, but I didn't know if it would hold enough value as waterfowl habitat."

Roseann and her companion, Charlie Blaisdell, are DU Gold Legacy Sponsors and members of the President's Council. "Charlie is a big DU supporter and has worked on a number of committees and events," Roseann says. "Over the years, his participation has kept me involved and informed about the many different ways to support the organization."

After a thorough evaluation, DU conservation staff determined that although Roseann's property wasn't valuable as wildlife habitat, it did have a high monetary value. "We take a very close look at any property that someone is considering donating to us," says Jake McPherson, DU biologist in the mid-Atlantic. "We consider the ecological value of the property and its suitability in fulfilling our mission. In this case, the economic value of the property offered DU a chance to sell it and use the proceeds to conserve other waterfowl habitat."

Roseann donated the property, and by working with DU's gift planners and her own tax advisor, she was able to take full advantage of the tax benefits of the land gift. The tax savings of the gift allowed Roseann to liquidate her Individual Retirement Account, thus increasing her own income, and support DU's mission. In the end, her donation was a win for her and for the ducks. Roseann's concern for waterfowl, her good business sense, and her hard work over the years have allowed her to play a leading role in advancing the cause of waterfowl conservation.