Emmons, Minn. - July 27, 2015 - Ducks Unlimited (DU) awarded the 2015 Minnesota Conservation Partner of the Year Award to Jeanine Vorland, area wildlife supervisor for the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources Owatonna Area.

The presentation was made July 18 during Minnesota Ducks Unlimited's summer State Council meeting in Emmons, Minn., by DU's Minnesota State Chairman Brian Ross and Minnesota Conservation Program Manager Jon Schneider.

Since 2004, when DU launched its Living Lakes conservation initiative in Minnesota and Iowa, Vorland has been instrumental in leading the enhancement of eight shallow lakes in cooperation with DU that improved nearly 6,000 acres of wetland habitat for migrating and breeding waterfowl. Vorland has also partnered with DU to restore several smaller wetlands and acquire public land, and has several new shallow lake enhancement projects planned for the future.

"Jeanine Vorland is one of the most dedicated, thoughtful, and hard-working partners we have in Minnesota," Schneider said. "Despite the inherent challenges involved in water level management to improve waterfowl habitat in large shallow lakes, Vorland's enthusiasm for leading these complex projects has increased over the years."

Vorland graduated from Luther College in Iowa with a Bachelor of Arts in Biology in 1981 and attended the University of Minnesota for graduate work. Since 1984 she has worked for the Minnesota DNR Section of Wildlife in Owatonna and Red Lake, and is now based in Albert Lea.

Cooperative shallow lake enhancement projects led by Vorland were funded with state bond funds, the Outdoor Heritage Fund/Lessard-Sams Outdoor Heritage Council, the Environment and Natural Resources Trust Fund and the North American Wetlands Conservation Act. These public grant funds were secured and leveraged by DU using private philanthropic gifts made by DU major sponsors, foundations and corporations.

For more information on Minnesota DNR Shallow Lakes Program, visit www.dnr.state.mn.us/wildlife/shallowlakes.

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 13 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 www.ducks.org. Connect with us on our Facebook page at facebook.com/DucksUnlimited, follow our tweets at twitter.com/DucksUnlimited and watch DU videos at youtube.com/DucksUnlimitedInc.

Media contact:

Chris Sebastian

(734) 623-2017