Ducks Unlimited is a nonprofit voluntary organization committed to the conservation of wetlands and waterfowl. It is the largest international private organization dedicated to such an objective.
Ducks Unlimited works by establishing partnerships with individuals, private landowners, various agencies, private organizations and with the scientific communities. Ducks Unlimited has more than 500,000 adult members and more than 50,000 Greenwing Ducks or children members. Committed to international conservation of wetlands and waterfowl, it has almost 50,000 members in Mexico and more than 150,000 supporters in Canada. The Canadian supporters include its regular members, other landowners who know the importance of wetland and waterfowl conservation, independent vendors and other attendees to its many events.
The organization addresses some of the most important problems of wetlands and other habitats. Through its partnership with private and public individuals and entities, Ducks Unlimited is able to continuously face these challenges in habitats of North America. As membership continuously grows, the acreage influence and acreage conserved of Ducks Unlimited increases. It now has more than 12,000 acreage conserved in North America and more than 61,000 acres influenced in North America. Together, this constitutes an area of more than 70,000 acreage influenced and conserved in North America.
As a grassroots organization, members and supporters are volunteers who are committed to its objectives. Thus, many of its members are those who are committed to conservation of wetlands and waterfowl. Some are conservationists while many are outdoor enthusiasts. The organization regularly hosts fundraising events. In fact, every year more than 4,000 events are held to raise funds for the organization. Some of the most common events held by Ducks Unlimited are shooting and fishing tournament, banquets and outings. These fundraising events are essential to the works of Ducks Unlimited as they allow the organization to act on works of highest priority and to further seek financial support from other sources.
With the aim of having sufficient wetlands to increase waterfowl population, the main mission of Ducks Unlimited is habitat conservation. The organization restores, manages and conserves the North American wetlands, which serve as habitats for waterfowl. To achieve this objective Ducks Unlimited undertakes a different kind of approach to waterfowl conservation, the continental and landscape approach. Thus, the organization works in all the states, Canadian provinces and important habitats in Mexico with a central focus on habitats that would provide maximum benefit to waterfowl.
In the United States, it has established its top 5 conservation priority regions, based on habitats that would provide most benefit to waterfowl. These are the Prairie Pothole Region, the Western Boreal Forest in Canada, the Mississippi Aluvial Valley, the Central Valley in California and the Gulf Coastal Prairie. Ducks Unlimited also work in other conservation priority areas. They are prioritized from level 1 to level 4, depending on the state of the habitat in the regions.
To address the challenges in the propriety areas, Ducks Unlimited conducts programs that involve monitoring and evaluation of the habitat in the regions. Some of the conservation methods and approaches undertaken by the organization are restoration of grasslands and watersheds, replanting forests and conservation easements. Other programs include working with landowners and partners, land acquisition, management agreements with landowners and the use of geographic information systems technology.
Equally important is the Ducks Unlimited's promotion of wildlife conservation and wildlife friendly legislation in congress. Its office in Washington undertakes the necessary actions and efforts to ensure that wildlife conservation is included in public policy of the government. Since the organization is a nonprofit one, its efforts include educating and informing the members of congress on the important issues of conservation of wildlife, most especially waterfowl resources. This helps legislators on creating policies and providing funds for the preservation and restoration of many threatened habitats.
Ducks Unlimited was established in 1939 by Joseph Knapp, E. Lowe and Robert Winthrop. The idea of creating an organization that is dedicated to wetland conservation and waterfowl conservation was brought about by their concern about the loss of wetlands in the country. They were concerned about how this would eventually impact the sport of waterfowl hunting. They then established a group with a simple mission of habitat conservation. This became the main mission of Ducks Unlimited as it grew from small group of waterfowl hunting enthusiasts to one of the largest private waterfowl and wetland conservation organizations in the world.
Lowe and Winthrop initially started out by conducting fundraising efforts in the United States for their projects in Canada. Their conservation projects in Canada were very important because it is where most of the wildlife in the North America comes from. In fact about 70% of them come from Canada.
The following year, Ducks Unlimited Canada was born. With the same mission, they started projects that are aimed at preserving wetlands and wildlife conservation. Decades later, Ducks Unlimited Canada turned out to be very efficient in conserving wetlands in the country. Its programs have preserved more than 6 million acres of habitat. It has also gained significant support from partners and various entities across the country. The efforts of Ducks Unlimited Canada have inspired a group of Australian citizens into forming Ducks Unlimited Australia in 1991. Although the group changed its name to Wetland Care Australia, it still has the same mission and conducts projects for the restoration and preservation of wetland habitats in Australia.
Ducks Unlimited has also been actively involved in conservation in Latin America and the Caribbean wetlands, since they offer great opportunities for research and monitoring. Ducks Unlimited Mexico has similarly restored vast acres of land that are very significant for wintering waterfowl and other species.
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