I was privileged to meet and share our love of conservation with a cross-section of the supporters who believe in DUC and the work that we do on landscapes across this country.
Roger d’Eschambault, Ducks Unlimited Canada president
Ducks Unlimited Canada (DUC) president Roger d’Eschambault lives for adventure. He’s already trekked to the South Pole, and has his sights set on a future expedition to the North Pole. So, it came as no surprise that the intrepid d’Eschambault decided to mark DUC’s 85th anniversary by embarking on a special week-long journey in a restored Chestnut canoe to explore our roots.
While in the heart of the province’s duck country, d’Eschambault paddled wetlands and waterways, enjoying the unique experiences of watching the movement of water and pondweed wash over his paddle, of witnessing jaw-dropping prairie sunsets over the bow, and seeing countless wildlife species scurry, fly and swim into the safety of surrounding marshes and uplands.
The canoe excursion took d’Eschambault to Big Grass Marsh, DUC’s first-ever wetland restoration project built in 1938. Other pit stops included Oak Hammock Marsh, site of DUC’s national offices and award-winning interpretive centre, a cattle ranch owned by landowner partners, and a Manitoba First Nation where youth are learning how to braid traditional knowledge with science to help safeguard precious wildlife and water resources for future generations. His journey wrapped up with a waterfowl hunt at the historic Delta Marsh.
Beyond fully experiencing the outdoor spaces he loves, d’Eschambault says the best part of his trip was connecting with the passionate conservationists he met and spoke with along the way.
“Supporters, partners, scientists, educators, Indigenous leaders, landowners, waterfowlers, volunteers, staff…I was privileged to meet and share our love of conservation with a cross-section of the supporters who believe in DUC and the work that we do on landscapes across this country,” he says. “With every stroke of the paddle, they were with me in spirit, together with the conservationists that came before us,” he adds.
“I was both humbled and filled with pride. Because my journey confirmed what I know in my heart to be true: that our belief in DUC’s mission is making a difference in the lives of Canadians.”
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The recreational benefits and opportunity to connect with nature are so important to our health and well-being. I am hoping the Duck and Run challenge will inspire more communities to invest in natural solutions like wetlands.
Andrew Black, Sackville mayor
Over the course of one mid-October weekend, DUC and event sponsor Bass Pro Shops & Cabela’s Canada presented the first annual Duck and Run challenge. This new community-based and virtual “fun run” encouraged Canadians to lace-up to support a healthier world.
“Our employees and customers care deeply about conserving Canada’s great outdoors for generations to come,” says Brent Bowen, regional director for Bass Pro Shops & Cabela’s Canada. “The Duck and Run is a great opportunity for our community to come together in support of conservation.”
Cooler temperatures, migrating birds and beautiful autumn foliage greeted the 550 participants who ran, walked, wheeled and waddled 10,000-step, one-kilometre or five-kilometre distances on wetland trails in towns and cities across the country, including Sackville, N.B. Recently recognized as North America’s first accredited “Wetland City,” the town of Sackville worked with partners like DUC to create a 55-acre (22-hectare) urban waterfowl park with four kilometres of trails and boardwalk.
“Our community values the clean water, flood mitigation and wildlife habitat that the park provides,” says Sackville mayor Andrew Black. “But beyond this, the recreational benefits and opportunity to connect with nature are so important to our health and well-being. I am hoping the Duck and Run challenge will inspire more communities to invest in natural solutions like wetlands.”
Find out how you can organize a Duck and Run event in your community in 2024.
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