Established in 1937, DU has conserved more than 15 million acres and counting
Saturday, Jan. 29, marks Ducks Unlimited’s (DU’s), the world’s largest wetlands and waterfowl conservation organization, 85th anniversary. In 2022, DU and more than a million of its supporters are celebrating the conservation of over 15 million acres and the people who make it possible.
In 1937, a small group of visionaries and community leaders set out to save North America’s waterfowl populations while celebrating the continent’s strong waterfowling heritage. Stressing the important role wetlands play across North America, DU committed to this mission at the height of the Great Depression and one of the worst droughts in history.
Fast forward eight and a half decades later, and DU has become the premiere organization promoting wetlands conservation. Its work has led to the conservation of more than 15 million acres, thanks to tireless support from generations of DU members, volunteers and partners who are part of the organization’s mission to conserve and restore wetlands and other vital habitats for North America’s waterfowl.
“Eighty-five years of wetlands and waterfowl conservation is something we are truly proud of,” said DU President Doug Schoenrock. “Our success story is a true Team DU effort. While 15 million acres conserved is a historic milestone, we will not stop working toward our vision of skies filled with waterfowl today, tomorrow and forever.”
This singular vision has not changed in 85 years. DU remains the world’s largest and most effective private, nonprofit, waterfowl and wetlands conservation organization. DU delivers its work through a series of partnerships with private individuals, landowners, agencies, scientific communities and other entities.
“For 85 years, DU has based its conservation decisions on the best available science, obtained through hundreds of public, private and corporate partnerships,” said DU Chief Conservation Officer Karen Waldrop. “DU was founded on the principle of conserving wetlands and associated upland habitat to ensure healthy waterfowl populations. What we have found over 85 years as a leader in habitat conservation and restoration is that DU’s efforts not only benefit waterfowl, but many other species of wildlife, people and communities as well. Those science-based conservation decisions, DU’s on-the-ground efforts and its partnerships will continue for generations.”
Wetlands improve the health of the environment by refilling and purifying groundwater, mitigating floods and reducing soil erosion. They are also North America’s most productive ecosystems, providing critical habitat to more than 900 wildlife species and invaluable recreation opportunities for people to enjoy. In addition, strategic DU projects have protected communities, agriculture, local economies, homes and even lives from the destructive impacts of flooding, erosion, and severe weather. Local communities throughout North America are using DU-conserved wetlands for recreation, hunting, education, and overall improved quality of life.
“Born in the Dust Bowl era, Ducks Unlimited has never lost its focus on science-based habitat conservation up and down the migration corridors, said DU CEO Adam Putnam. “Our volunteers and staff have worked shoulder to shoulder to deliver over 15 million acres of results for the benefit of waterfowl, other wildlife and people. Our work is far from complete and our mission continues even as we pause to celebrate 85 years of mission delivery.”
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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 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 www.ducks.org.