Fastened to Paul-Emile Bélanger’s lapel is a pin in the shape of a duck head. For good reason, he wears it close to his heart. Not only is it a memento he personally designed and produced, it’s a symbol of his commitment to DUC’s wetland conservation mission.
If you happen upon Bélanger during your travels, chances are good he’ll give you one of these pins. Chances are even better that he’ll recruit you to DUC’s volunteer team. It’s this passion for connecting people to nature while supporting conservation that’s earned Bélanger the honour of DUC’s volunteer of the year in Quebec.
Bélanger has been volunteering with DUC for more than three decades. He’s a founding member of DUC’s Grand Portneuf committee and recruited many volunteers to a neighbouring committee in Granby. Over the years, both have been extremely successful in raising funds for DUC through a variety of dinners, auctions and other special events.
Engaging the next generation of conservationists is another vital part of Bélanger’s volunteer DNA. He’s helped organize youth events such as duck banding days and hands-on wetland activities led by conservation and outdoor professionals. He’s seen firsthand the impact these opportunities can have on young people after watching a handful of participants eventually go on to pursue careers in biology—including his daughter.
Bélanger’s strong volunteer leadership made him a prime candidate to serve at higher levels within the organization. Throughout his 33-year volunteer career, he’s spent 11 years serving on DUC’s provincial council in Quebec—including four as president—and eight years on the organization’s national board of directors.
DUC is fortunate to have a volunteer with Bélanger’s unwavering dedication—someone who keeps conservation close to his heart everywhere he goes.