Arguably the most storied conservation organization ever formed, Ducks Unlimited celebrated its 85th anniversary last week and the organization is happy to celebrate years of key wetlands preservation. The role of public hunting areas is more important than ever these days. Mostly because one of the key problems facing many hunters is simply a lack of access to areas to hunt. And with habitat destruction an ever-increasing problem, it makes the more than 15 million acres DU has been involved with conserving even more important than ever.
In a press release on the DU website, current Ducks Unlimited President Doug Schoenrock took the time to reflect on the organization's incredible accomplishments within conservation efforts more than eight decades after it was formed. Amazingly, it was all done without changing the vision that the non-profit was formed upon.
"Eighty-five years of wetlands and waterfowl conservation is something we are truly proud of," Schoenrock said. "Our success story is a true Team DU effort. While 15 million acres conserved is a historic milestone, we will not stop working towards our vision of skies filled with waterfowl today, tomorrow, and forever."
Founded in 1937, DU was a spin-off organization from the Boone & Crockett Club. However, it's arguable that DU has become more of a household name, especially with the non-hunting public. One can argue it's the most famous conservation organization out there.
In any case, the organization operated as "American Wild Fowlers" until 1930, when it was combined with another organization, More Game Birds in America, which was created by philanthropist Joseph P. Knapp.
Knapp later teamed with Robert Winthrop and others to shift their focus towards the ever-decreasing wildlife populations, many of which had been devastated by market hunting and the use of extreme hunting measures like punt guns.
Ducks Unlimited was officially formed January 29, 1937. The non-profit did well for itself, especially considering it was formed during the hardships of the Great Depression, when most people were struggling just to make ends meet.
"Born in the Dust Bowl era, Ducks Unlimited has never lost its focus on science-based habitat conservation up and down the migration corridors," DU CEO Adam Putnam said in a press release. "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."
It's not just waterfowl that the organization has helped protect either. The preservation of wetlands by the organization's efforts has also helped with providing habitat for hundreds of other wildlife and plant species over the years. The release also notes how the organization's projects have helped with flooding, erosion, and severe weather problems that have had negative impacts on small communities, agriculture, and economies.
It's safe to say Ducks Unlimited is one of the most important players in conservation today, and we as hunters cannot thank them enough for their contributions towards preserving our favorite game birds and the wild spaces they inhabit. Congrats to DU on 85 years; here's to 85 more!
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