MEMPHIS, Tenn. - Aug. 21, 2020 - Ducks Unlimited (DU) Regional Biologist Dr. Renee Spenst received an inaugural Ducks Unlimited (DU) Excellence in Conservation Award for her conservation work on the California coast.

For the first time in its 83-year history DU distributed their Excellence in Conservation Awards. DU&squo;s Conservation Programs Committee (CPC) created the awards to recognize outstanding conservation accomplishments and the DU staff who made them possible.

Any extraordinary accomplishment that supports DU&squo;s conservation mission of filling the skies with waterfowl today, tomorrow and forever is eligible for recognition. The inaugural 2020 awards were announced Aug. 20, during the CPC summer meeting.

"These awards were created to support morale, help maintain a high level of motivation and convey the gratitude of DU supporters and volunteers by recognizing truly exceptional conservation professionals,&dquo; said CPC Chair Dr. Christine Thomas. "The awards recognize particularly outstanding conservation achievements by individuals who are part of the staff of Ducks Unlimited.&dquo;

Spenst received the award for her work as part of DU&squo;s San Francisco Bay and California Coast conservation team, which covers the California coast from the Oregon border to San Diego. The vast majority of the team&squo;s work is in the San Francisco Bay area.

The San Francisco Bay is the most important wintering area for scaup and canvasbacks in the Pacific Flyway. The work that Spenst and her team does is focused on restoring coastal wetlands that provide habitat for numerous native species.

"It is a great honor to have our efforts recognized nationally by the CPC,&dquo; Spenst said. "I am so excited to receive this inaugural award and want to share it with my team members and the many partners who work together to achieve our conservation mission. It is a true privilege to work collectively towards restoring San Francisco Bay and the California Coast, to see mudflats and marshes developing and pintail, scaup and canvasback ducks responding by the thousands as habitats return. This award is the icing on the cake.&dquo;

Click here for a complete list of 2020 Ducks Unlimited Excellence in Conservation Award winners.

"Ducks Unlimited has the greatest team of conservation professionals in the world,&dquo; DU CEO Adam Putnam said. "These Excellence in Conservation Awards recognize the members of Team DU who are the boots on the ground. Their daily efforts fuel our mission to fill the skies with waterfowl.&dquo;

For more information visit Follow DU&squo;s newest Twitter feed - @DUNews1937 - to get the most up-to-date news from Ducks Unlimited.

About Ducks Unlimited

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 almost 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