Nearly 75 years ago, a group of hunters got together to do something about disappearing habitat.
Concerned the ducks they loved to hunt were losing vital wetlands, they decided to take action, and Ducks Unlimited began.
Over those nearly 75 years, the organization has funded projects throughout Canada and the United States to help protect important habitat for waterfowl, and the international organization has evolved.
No longer just about protecting the interests of hunters hoping to save the animals they like to hunt, Ducks Unlimited continues to help preserve habitat and hold fundraising events to raise the money to do so.
Fort St. James hosts one of 27 events in the northern part of the province, run by volunteers and made successful through the generosity of the entire community.
Over the 21 years of holding fundraising dinners in Fort St. James, over $350,000 has been raised for the organization to help preserve wetlands.
These funds have helped to pay for some of the area projects Ducks has done, with five wetland projects between Fort St. James and Prince George in the Teardrop area.
While the local group has only about 10 core members, extra volunteers help out each year to make the gala dinners a success.
Catered dinners with Ducks Unlimited merchandise and other items like Robert Bateman limited edition prints and local silent auction items help raise the money needed to continue the wetland protection work.
Projects have been done across B.C., with the current focus being put on the most important wetland habitat in the Peace Region, the Chilcotin, and coastal estuaries.
“We’re very fortunate in B.C., because we spend more money in B.C than we raise … because we have so much critical habitat,” said Ken Ferris, fundraising manager for northern B.C. for Ducks.
This year’s annual Ducks Unlimited fundraising dinner was taking place Saturday, Nov. 3, after the paper went to press.