The walk from my car to the staff entrance wasn’t far, so I took my time. This was my first visit to Ducks Unlimited Canada’s (DUC) national headquarters at Oak Hammock Marsh since my father and I came decades ago, and it didn’t disappoint. Unseasonably warm for the fourth of October, the surrounding marshland was draped in fall’s finest colours. Geese passed overhead and the earthy smell of fallen leaves in the morning air was a familiar reminder of life on the prairies this time of year.
It was day one of my new gig as DUC’s CEO. And as it turned out, that walk to the office doors was just long enough for a highlight reel of some of my most cherished memories to play through my mind — a reminder of how fortunate I am to be assuming what is a dream job in every way imaginable.
I grew up on a cattle ranch in rural Alberta, just southwest of Calgary. As a young kid my days were spent wandering the prairie with a black lab by my side, seeing nature firsthand. The pastures and sloughs on our property were places to escape and explore. I witnessed how a fresh spring rain brought the landscape to life with crocuses, fresh clover and timothy — and with waterfowl. Learning to hunt alongside my father and brothers, and later teaching my own children to value and respect nature and its bounty from the perspective of a duck blind, have shaped my life in so many ways.
I expect you may have similar experiences —enjoyed in the vast and varied landscapes that make our country so unique and beautiful —that steered you to support DUC. This personal calling that we all share for wetlands, nature and the outdoors is what binds us together. For me, it’s what makes joining Team DUC both humbling and heartening in all the best possible ways.
For as long as I can remember, I have been inspired by the history, impressed by the impact and fascinated by the forward-thinking, science-driven progress of this organization. Today, it’s an honour to assume this important role and to serve alongside you to advance conservation and create a healthier world during a point in history when it’s needed more than ever.
We’re living in a moment in time where the combination of COVID, climate change and a severe drought have brought many emotions to the surface for all Canadians. These three different and devastating impacts are causing many people to re-evaluate what is important to them. DUC, bolstered by the support and commitment of people like you, can help them find solutions — and hope.
These are the reasons I look forward to making that walk again and again in the coming years. I truly believe there’s not a more noble — or a more significant — cause than the one we have the privilege of pursuing every day at DUC. It’s time to get to work, and I’m thrilled to get started.
Larry Kaumeyer named DUC’s new CEO
A lifelong hunter and conservationist, Larry Kaumeyer assumed the role of DUC’s CEO in October following the retirement of Karla Guyn.
In recent decades, Kaumeyer held leadership roles in the energy and financial sectors while volunteering with conservation-based non-profit organizations. Prior to joining DUC, he served as principal secretary to the premier of Alberta. Here, he carried forward his commitment to conservation by helping deliver many science-based environmental and climate policies, forging strong relationships with influential politicians across parties, and partnering with industry leaders across the agriculture, energy, and forestry sectors to advance sustainability efforts.
Larry lives in Edmonton with his wife Christina and will share his time between DUC’s provincial offices in Alberta and our national office at Oak Hammock Marsh in Manitoba. He plans to travel across the country to meet with supporters and conservation partners who are helping safeguard Canada’s wetlands and wildlife.