Ducks Unlimited Inc. and Ducks Unlimited Canada were honored with a Conservation Champion Award on March 21 at the North American Migratory Bird Joint Venture 25th Anniversary Celebration in Washington, D.C.

“Ducks Unlimited has been a proud and active member of virtually every migratory bird joint venture management board since their inception, and we strongly believe in this model of ‘good government,'” said DU Chief Conservation Officer Paul Schmidt, who accepted the award on behalf of DU. “Partnerships like these are needed now more than ever, as we work in these challenging times to ensure that every conservation dollar goes to the highest need and greatest priority.”

The Conservation Champion Award is given to key organizations and individuals who have demonstrated a long-term commitment and dedication to the work of the joint ventures. DU was one of nine winners this year.

According to the award committee, “Ducks Unlimited Inc. and Ducks Unlimited Canada have been integral partners, advocates and leaders in the development of joint ventures from their inception. The unprecedented success of joint ventures as we know them today is in no small part the result of the long-standing participation and dedication of Ducks Unlimited.”

Celebrating its 25th anniversary this year, the North American Migratory Bird Joint Ventures were created in 1986 as part of the North American Waterfowl Management Plan (NAWMP). The year before, waterfowl populations had reached all-time lows and, recognizing the importance of waterfowl and wetlands to North Americans and the need for international cooperation to help in the recovery of a shared resource, the U.S. and Canadian governments developed a strategy—NAWMP—to restore waterfowl populations through habitat protection, restoration and enhancement.

Ducks Unlimited is actively involved in joint ventures across the continent, from planning, design and research to delivery and monitoring. DU staff members are part of joint venture management boards and technical working groups, preparing project proposals, developing partner networks and delivering projects on the ground.

“The longtime partnership Ducks Unlimited has with the joint ventures, and with our vast network of partners throughout the conservation arena, is at the heart of effective bird habitat conservation in North America,” Schmidt said. “We are proud and honored to accept this award on behalf of the hundreds of employees and almost a million supporters of Ducks Unlimited.”

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