Memphis, Tennessee – Ducks Unlimited hatched from the minds of waterfowl hunters 72 years ago today and continues to conserve habitat for waterfowl and other wildlife. The organization’s goals have remained the same over the years and the vision of wetlands sufficient to fill the skies with waterfowl today, tomorrow and forever echoes across the continent from the bottomland hardwoods of the Mississippi River to California’s Central Valley.
“Ducks Unlimited is very proud of our history as the leader in wetland conservation and our waterfowl hunting heritage,” said Don Young, DU executive vice-president. “The on-the-ground effort from volunteers and staff during the last 72 years has greatly influenced the way the entire continent views conservation. That is one of our greatest accomplishments and we aim to continue to put all our efforts into conservation, including how conservation decisions are made in the state and federal legislative arena.”
DU began during the “Dust Bowl” era when habitat conditions seemed bleak to those who were beginning to take notice. Before the Federal Duck Stamps and hunting licenses, DU members used the “Duk-a-nickel” program, among many others, to give back to waterfowl habitat and conserve a resource they understood needed protection. The organization has blossomed into the model of hunter-based conservation organizations hosting more than 4,500 fundraising events annually with 3,500 chapters nationwide.
DU has conserved more than 12 million acres since 1937 in North America and has completed projects in all 50 states. Wetlands across the continent have benefitted from the organization’s success and with the help of the more than 1 million supporters, the organization tackles new issues every day.
“In many aspects, we set the standard and for the last 72 years we have continued to grow and put more and more money into habitat,” Young explained. “Even after 72 years, through the good times and the bad, we are still able to put 88 cents of every dollar we receive directly into habitat. That’s good for waterfowl and waterfowl hunters.”
With more than a million supporters, Ducks Unlimited is the world’s largest and most effective wetland and waterfowl conservation organization with more than 12 million acres conserved. The United States alone has lost more than half of its original wetlands – nature’s most productive ecosystem – and continues to lose more than 80,000 wetland acres each year.