DUC’s Top 20 in 2020 — Ducks Unlimited Canada
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DUC’s Top 20 in 2020

Stories that made headlines, and headway, for conservation in Canada

December 16, 2020

It’s customary at this time of year to look back at the moments and milestones that will mark this point in DUC history. Thanks to your support, a host of conservation success stories brought hope and positivity to 2020. Each has their own unique merit. Here are 20 that topped our list.


Hitting our habitat goals out of the park:

In the 2020 fiscal year, we conserved more than 108,000 acres (43,706 hectares) across the country. This is approximately 18,000 acres (7,284 hectares) more than planned. Check out DUC’s annual report for more game-changing conservation results in your province


Economic benefits you can take from the bulrushes to the bank:

This year alone, the habitat under DUC’s care delivered $5.4 billion in economic benefits to Canadians. Let us show you the money—and the measurement—associated with the conservation work you helped make possible.


Volunteer stars who shine bright:

New Brunswick’s John Johnson has been volunteering with DUC for an incredible 41 years. That’s 14,965 days and more hours than anyone would care to count. Meet John and see why his dedication to conservation earned him the title of DUC’s Volunteer of the Year.


Endangered species spotting proves conservation pays off:

Bird watchers visiting Alberta’s Frank Lake Conservation Area in early June witnessed a rare sight—a whooping crane, one of the rarest birds in North America. Read about the sighting and why collaboration between organizations such as DUC, landowners, community members, naturalist groups, industry and government is helping support a resurgence of species at risk.


Landowners leaving lasting legacies:

We have the unique privilege of partnering with Canadian landowners who are keen to protect the natural areas central to their way of life. This Saskatchewan couple, who signed a conservation easement with DUC, have a shared love for wildlife and the prairie landscape that brought them together. Hear Jean-Michel DeVink and Rebecca Wilson’s conservation story, in their own words.


Fighting back against invasive species:

In B.C.’s south Okanagan, we’re striking back against the Russian olive tree to keep the land and water we love healthy. Learn how DUC is working with conservation partners in the area to keep this invasive species from encroaching on areas essential for songbird and waterfowl nesting.


Up-and-coming conservationists earn their wings…and fly:

DUC awarded its inaugural Wetland Centres of Excellence scholarships this year, which sent three students off to university with $1,000 to help advance their conservation career aspirations. Find out more about DUC’s Wetland Centres of Excellence, the scholarship and winners.


Calculating the big impacts of small wetlands:

New DUC research in Ontario has shown that restored wetlands act as significant “phosphorus sinks,” capturing harmful nutrients from surface water before they move downstream. Read how this research and associated wetland restoration work can help combat harmful algae outbreaks in lakes and rivers.


Award-winning industry partnerships:

Collaborating with Canada’s forestry industry on sustainable practices is key to success — and we’re proud to have received a 2020 Award of Excellence from the Forest Products Association of Canada for our efforts. Learn how DUC offers scientific expertise to help foresters develop best management practices that mitigate risks to boreal wetlands and waterfowl.


DUC Wetland Heroes inspire a new generation:

Young people like Evan Musgrove from Oakbank, Man. are demonstrating their passion for conservation by taking on projects in their communities. Evan was presented a DUC Wetland Hero award for his management of nest boxes near his home. It’s this kind of curiosity about the natural world that will motivate the next generation to become the conservation leaders of tomorrow.


Protecting Canada’s iconic landscapes with the Natural Heritage Conservation Program:

DUC is working alongside the federal government to create healthier habitats for species at risk and to enhance Canada’s natural environment. See how DUC is helping protect iconic landscapes across the country through this program.


Strengthening coastal landscapes with salt marsh restoration:

To combat sea-level rise and protect coastal communities from the effects of climate change, DUC in Atlantic Canada is returning a series of freshwater marshes to the sea. Salt marsh restorations, including this one at Fullerton’s Marsh in P.E.I., are playing an important role in buffering the impact of higher tides and stronger waves.


A new chapter for the Oak Hammock Marsh Interpretive Centre:

Over the past 27 years, our award-winning outdoor education centre in Manitoba has welcomed students and visitors from around the world. In September, our partners at the Province of Manitoba announced a $6-million endowment for its ongoing operation, as well as a $1.5-million capital renewal fund to support a comprehensive update and re-imagination of the Centre. Learn more about the new name, new programs and enhanced facilities coming soon to Oak Hammock Marsh.


“Striking Balance” at Lac Saint-Pierre:

Situated along the Saint Lawrence River in Quebec, Lac Saint-Pierre and its surrounding habitats form a unique ecosystem that’s critically important for migratory birds, fish and other wildlife. DUC has been working here since the 1980s; however, in recent years, it’s become apparent that a new approach to managing this important region is needed. Watch this documentary that showcases DUC’s role in finding solutions to create a healthier path forward for Lac Saint-Pierre.


Ontario’s new $6-million deal:

This December, the Government of Ontario announced it’s partnering with DUC to invest $6 million in wetland conservation and restoration in the Lake Ontario and Lake Erie drainage basins. We’ll be putting these funds to good use, as we begin implementing more than 60 wetland projects immediately. Read our response to this significant investment.


Creative and committed fundraising:

When COVID-19 postponed our traditional fundraising dinners and in-person events, DUC volunteers stepped up with creative ways to continue raising funds. From the creation of virtual events, online 50/50 raffles, conservation calendars as well as a safe and socially distanced Ride to the Lake and a virtual Duck and Run, DUC volunteers proved that when there’s a will, there’s a way.


New protection for Manitoba’s boreal wetlands:

DUC played a key role in developing the Government of Manitoba’s Boreal Wetlands Conservation Codes of Practice. The codes provide industry groups with clear direction on where and how to operate around boreal wetlands. They will help conserve more than 54 million acres—an area that represents more than one-third of the province. Read how their establishment is a step forward in balancing economic progress and environmental stewardship in the province.


Protecting a coastal gem at St Luke’s Marsh:

DUC acquired St. Luke’s Marsh—one of the few remaining coastal wetlands in southwestern Ontario. The project includes 488 acres (197 hectares) of prime migratory bird habitat, situated in one of the most densely populated areas of the country. Learn more about this vast expanse of habitat, which is now protected in perpetuity.


The promise of a green recovery:

In its Fall Economic Statement, the Government of Canada sent a clear signal that the economy and the environment go hand in hand. As part of its post-COVID recovery planning, the Government committed to investing $631 million over the next ten years to restore wetlands, grasslands and peatlands. This is welcome news for the natural world—and for all Canadians.


The unbreakable bond between people and nature:

Throughout 2020, we’ve been overwhelmed by the support, understanding and compassion from our conservation community. When the pandemic happened and the world around us felt uncertain, you reminded us that there’s a powerful team standing behind DUC—one that will always band together for the future of wildlife and the wild places we love.

If there’s one takeaway from this year-end highlight reel, it’s this: Big things are coming in 2021. Momentum is building. How Canadians see the role of conservation in their lives is changing. With cutting-edge science, strong partnerships and the unwavering support of people like you, the coming year promises to bring more opportunities and achievements for conservation.

We can’t wait to get started. Here’s to another year of making history, together.

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