On Friday, Feb. 2, Ducks Unlimited (DU) and conservationists worldwide will celebrate World Wetlands Day (WWD) to recognize the importance of wetland ecosystems for humans and wildlife. This year’s theme is “Wetlands and Human Wellbeing.”
Part of DU’s mission is to raise public awareness about the benefits wetlands provide as waterfowl habitats and as critical natural water filters. Wetlands provide many services to our communities, including flood storage, groundwater recharge, carbon sequestration, enhanced fish habitat and much more.
Ducks Unlimited recently kicked off the most ambitious conservation campaign in history on behalf of North America’s wetlands and waterfowl. “Conservation for a Continent. Our Wetlands. Our Legacy.” The comprehensive campaign aims to raise $3 billion for habitat work across North America.
Conservation for a Continent builds on the success of DU’s groundbreaking Rescue Our Wetlands campaign, which concluded in December 2018. Rescue Our Wetlands raised an astonishing $2.34 billion from more than 2 million donors and conserved 2,236,435 acres of wildlife habitat across North America.
WWD focuses on conservation solutions for these beautiful and critical landscape features that some describe as nature’s kidneys due to their ability to filter and clean water.
WWD commemorates the Feb. 2, 1971 signing of the Convention on Wetlands in Ramsar, Iran. Each year since the first celebration in 1997, government agencies, non-governmental organizations, corporations and citizens representing all segments of society have taken advantage of the anniversary to raise public awareness of wetland values and benefits in general and the Convention in Ramsar in particular.
According to the Ramsar Convention, wetlands are being lost three times faster than forests.
“Wetlands conservation is what Ducks Unlimited does every day,” said DU Chief Conservation Officer Karen Waldrop. “Since 1937, DU volunteers, members, sponsors and supporters have restored or protected more than 18 million acres of habitat in North America.”
DU, along with the help and support of its staunch volunteers and partners, is conserving prairie potholes and native grasslands in the Great Plains, restoring bottomland hardwood forests in the lower Mississippi River Valley, protecting and enhancing the Chesapeake Bay watershed, and protecting and improving wetland habitats in California’s Central Valley, the coastal prairies of Texas and the coastal marshes of Louisiana, just to name a few.
“In Fiscal Year 2023, DU protected or restored 641,000 acres of habitat in the United States alone,” Waldrop said. “But, as always, DU’s conservation work is a never-ending endeavor. Habitat work continues daily across the United States, Canada and Mexico.”
For more information about World Wetlands Day, visit https://www.worldwetlandsday.org/.
Ducks Unlimited Inc. is the world’s largest nonprofit organization dedicated to conserving North America’s continually disappearing wetlands and grasslands and other waterfowl habitats. Established in 1937, Ducks Unlimited has restored or protected more than 18 million acres thanks to contributions from more than a million supporters across the continent. Guided by science, DU’s projects benefit waterfowl, wildlife and people in all 50 states. DU is growing its mission through a historic $3 billion Conservation For A Continent capital campaign. Learn more at www.ducks.org.