“A good volunteer does the job consistently from year to year,” says Mario Bérubé, DUC’s Suzuki Volunteer of the Year nominee from Donnacona, Que. “Good volunteers must be involved in their committee, but they must also be involved in the outside community in order to promote the DUC cause.”
Bérubé believes this attitude – along with decades if experience – makes his Portneuf Committee one of the strongest in Quebec. He started with the committee 19 years ago after participating in their Duck Race. The event involved racing large wooden ducks down the Jacques-Cartier River, and Bérubé’s duck placed third. He loved the event so much, he decided to get involved with DUC.
“As a volunteer, I’m generally in charge of logistics,” says Bérubé, who loves working hard for his team. “I act as a spokesman for my committee throughout the year, and I’ve extended the reach of our promotion.”
Bérubé brings a lot of energy to the Portneuf committee and helps them earn a lot of publicity. To promote wetland conservation, he often gives public presentations, hands out gifts in school classes and establishes contacts for DUC throughout the Province of Quebec. He even commissioned a sign maker to affix DUC graphics to a van, which promotes DUC on roads all around Quebec and New Brunswick. Another big push has come from Bérubé’s effort at FestHiver in Donnacona, Que.
“I erected a giant cabin at the festival to allow people to warm up,” says Bérubé, who also brings a giant DUC duck to display at the event. “That way, I could also publicize DUC’s mission with presentations and silent auctions.”
Bérubé is an ambitious fundraiser. During a print reproduction contest, he sold 100 prints and earned the status of top seller. He’s also invited his brother to build a new piece of handcrafted furniture each year as the prize for the Lucky Key draw at his fundraising dinner. This contributes more than $600 to the fundraiser each year. Bérubé also helped establish a new Alma committee 10 years ago.
But Bérubé’s best memories are the 19 dinners he has proudly organized over the past two decades. “I get my satisfaction from giving exposure to DUC through videos and presentations during my fundraising dinner and throughout Quebec,” says Bérubé. “When I see a DUC poster on major streets in Lac Saint-Pierre, I feel proud to be volunteering for the cause.”
Bérubé has been an avid waterfowl hunter for more than 25 years and loves the outdoors. On top of everything else, he volunteers with DUC’s nest box program in Quebec so he can “get some time in the field.” Bérubé believes more Canadians need to appreciate the outdoors and understand the importance of wetlands. He wants wetlands to be better publicized and protected in Quebec. He appreciates how DUC creates national impact from local change.
“One of my fondest memories was a visit to Oregon when I met with DUC’s CEO Greg Siekaniec and president Mac Dunfield,” says Bérubé. “I learned a lot during that visit, and was I was impressed that a representative from a small region like as Portneuf could attend a major Ducks Unlimited event in the United States.”
The Portneuf committee will hold its 30th anniversary next year in 2017. Bérubé is helping relocate the event to Saint-Raymond for the 300th anniversary of the town. This will be a positive step for the committee and they all share a target of 300 guests. Bérubé wants to help promote the event in his classic grandeur style – by setting up a giant poster alongside the highway.
Vote Mario for DUC’s national Volunteer of the Year to celebrate his efforts and show some provincial pride! You can vote once a day until voting closes Friday, April 1, 2016.