Online magazine Slate released its profile of Ducks Unlimited today as part of Slate 90, a series that examines and ranks the multibillion-dollar nonprofit sector.
Author Henry Grabar examined DU’s operating model and the deep connection between hunters and conservation, highlighting the fact that some of ducks’ strongest allies are duck hunters.
“In the eyes of hunters and anglers, conservation is wise use, and wise use is limits,” argues Nick Wiley, DU’s chief conservation officer. The organization does not advocate on bag limits, seasons, and other government-imposed restrictions on hunting. “It’s about habitat, and wetlands, and making a difference there. Ducks is our calling card and our focus, and we’ve got a strong support base from people who love ducks.”
The nexus between hunting and conservation is as old as environmentalism itself, a dormant strain of the movement focused less on wilderness and more on the active, managerial use of land. “It’s not the sensibility of leaving alone a pure and untouched nature,” explains Benjamin Heber Johnson, a historian of the environmental movement. “It’s managing and interacting with the nature you use very self-consciously, and seeing that it’s a sustainable relationship in the long run. Sure, some places you just set aside. But the mark of an environmentally conscious person was actually knowing how to use nature.”
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