WAIKOLOA VILLAGE, Hawaii – June 1, 2019 – Ducks Unlimited, Ducks Unlimited Canada, Ducks Unlimited de Mexico and Wetlands America Trust committed to making DU’s vision of abundant wetlands a reality through our ambitious Rescue Our Wetlands campaign.
The $2 billion continental campaign was launched seven years ago and will go down as one of the largest conservation campaigns in history. The money raised is already being put to work conserving, restoring and protecting critical wetland habitat across North America.
Ducks Unlimited President Rogers Hoyt announced during DU’s 82nd National Convention in Hawaii that the campaign, which concluded in December 2018, vastly exceeded the $2 billion goal, raising an astonishing $2.34 billion from more than 2 million donors and conserving 2,236,435 acres.
“Team DU surpassed our $2 billion fundraising goal,” Hoyt said. “When I became president of Ducks Unlimited in 2017, one of my many goals was to see that this ambitious continental campaign reached its goal. We did that and more in terms of both dollars and acres conserved during the campaign. I am proud to have played a part, along with the millions of DU volunteers, members, donors and supporters who made this happen.”
DU Major Donor and Wetlands America Trust trustee James Cox Kennedy, chairman of Cox Enterprises, helped kick off the Rescue Our Wetlands campaign seven years ago. Now DU’s largest individual donor in history, Kennedy joined representatives from Ducks Unlimited, Ducks Unlimited Canada and Ducks Unlimited de Mexico on stage in Waikoloa Village, Hawaii, to celebrate the success of the campaign and to urge DU supporters to keep up the good work.
“I grew up in Hawaii and there’s a Hawaiian word for family – ohana,” Kennedy said. “Ducks Unlimited is an ohana. We are passionate about ducks. Our ohana should celebrate our success, but there is so much work to be done. I will do everything I can as long as I can to help and support the greatest waterfowl organization in the world.”
Dale Hall, who will officially retire from his position as Ducks Unlimited CEO June 30, also thanked Team DU for their hard work and dedication to the campaign.
“Doing something as simple as attending a DU banquet in your local community made a difference through this campaign and those efforts will continue to ensure wetlands sufficient to fill the skies with waterfowl today, tomorrow and forever,” Hall said.
Ducks Unlimited Canada stepped up to the challenge.
“Wetlands in Canada provide essential breeding habitat for waterfowl and millions of North America’s migratory birds,” said Ducks Unlimited Canada CEO Karla Guyn. “We’re proud to have played a significant role in the success of the Rescue Our Wetlands campaign by conserving more than 650,000 acres across the country. On top of this, another 96 million acres were positively influenced through policy efforts and partnerships. These achievements will leave a lasting legacy and are a testament to our strong supporters who make our work possible.”
Ducks Unlimited de México (DUMAC) played a big part in the Rescue Our Wetlands campaign too.
“The Wintering and Migration Landscapes priority of the Rescue Our Wetlands campaign focused on making sure waterfowl have what they need,” said DUMAC CEO Eduardo Carrera. “With a goal of conserving 315,000 acres of habitat, Ducks Unlimited, Ducks Unlimited Canada and Ducks Unlimited de Mexico focused on the important places waterfowl rest, refuel and find mates. I am proud to say we surpassed this Rescue Our Wetlands goal and conserved 761,520 acres of critical habitat for wintering and migrating waterfowl.”
Nearly half the bird species and two-thirds of the fish species in the United States rely on wetlands at some point during their lives. Wetlands serve as nature’s sponges, slowing the flow of water across the landscape and allowing sediment, nutrients and other particles to settle to the bottom. Wetlands also play a central role in recharging important groundwater supplies.
Wetlands such as bottomland hardwood forests absorb and store water, which helps prevent flooding in the surrounding watershed. Along America's coasts, wetlands serve as a natural buffer against hurricanes and other dangerous storms. Unfortunately, these vital wetland habitats are disappearing from North America’s landscapes.
So, the critical work DU, its sister organizations and partners do is not over.
"Ducks Unlimited spends at least 80 percent of every dollar on habitat conservation and conservation education," said Steve Maritz, president of Wetlands America Trust, the land trust arm of Ducks Unlimited. "Planned gift commitments and endowment gifts generated through Rescue Our Wetlands will contribute to a strong, stable future for Ducks Unlimited's mission and supporters. We have been at work for 82 years, and plan on continuing our conservation work today, tomorrow and forever."
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 14 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.