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Monday, Jan. 29, marks the 87th anniversary of Ducks Unlimited (DU), the world’s largest wetlands and waterfowl conservation organization.
In 1937, a small group of visionaries and community leaders set out to save North America’s waterfowl populations while celebrating the continent’s solid waterfowling heritage. Stressing the critical 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.
Today, DU is the premier organization promoting wetlands conservation. Its work has led to the conservation of more than 18 million acres and counting, 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.
“Because of the commitment, passion and steadfast dedication of our more than 1 million volunteers, members and supporters, Ducks Unlimited has continually produced incredible results since our founding in 1937,” said DU President Chuck Smith. “That dedication was again evident as 641,000 acres of habitat were protected or restored in North America alone in Fiscal Year 2023.”
DU is the world’s largest and most effective private, nonprofit waterfowl and wetlands conservation organization. DU delivers its work through partnerships with private individuals, landowners, agencies, scientific communities and other entities.
“Ducks Unlimited continues to conserve wetlands and associated upland habitat to ensure healthy waterfowl populations,” said DU Chief Conservation Officer Dr. Karen Waldrop. “Ducks Unlimited, Inc., Ducks Unlimited Canada, Ducks Unlimited de México and Wetlands America Trust continue to make DU’s vision of abundant wetlands a reality through our new $3 billion comprehensive campaign, Conservation For a Continent, the single, largest continental wetlands campaign ever launched.”
Wetlands refill and purify groundwater, mitigate floods and reduce 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 use DU-conserved wetlands for recreation, hunting, education and improved quality of life.
“For 87 years and counting, Ducks Unlimited’s volunteers, members, partners and supporters are making a huge difference in wetlands conservation based on science and sustainability,” said DU CEO Adam Putnam. “We protect wetlands habitat by working with farmers, ranchers and landowners. We do it, and will keep doing it, because it works on a continental scale.”