Winnebago Industries contributed $25,000 to Ducks Unlimited (DU) to support youth participation in Third Term, DU’s annual university leadership summit, and for conservation projects in Minnesota and Iowa.
With support from Winnebago Industries, hundreds of students will attend an eventful and diverse Third Term conference from Aug. 6 to 8.
“Ducks Unlimited and the entire Winnebago Industries family share the goals of inspiring a new generation of outdoor enthusiasts and preserving places to explore,” said Katy Friesz, Winnebago Industries Foundation executive director. “We look forward to advancing our long-standing support of conservation in Iowa and Minnesota by connecting with Third Term collegiate leaders across the country.”
Third Term provides college students an avenue to become active in wetlands conservation and offers opportunities to meet like-minded peers from across the country. Student attendees learn business skills needed to manage a DU chapter and information about the many types of jobs that are necessary to run a large conservation organization. Students also build a peer network to help advance themselves professionally and make friends who share their passions for outdoor recreation and conservation.
“Third Term provides university volunteers the opportunity to learn about the many facets of our business while building critical relationships that will benefit them beyond their educational career,” said Amy Batson, Ducks Unlimited’s chief fundraising officer. “We are very proud to include Winnebago Industries as a sponsor of the 2021 summit. Their support allows us to expand our reach and impact among Ducks Unlimited’s college chapter program.”
Third Term, presented by Axalta, is one of several youth activities organized by Ducks Unlimited. The event was virtual in 2020 due to the COVID-19 pandemic but returns to in-person gathering this year. Ducks Unlimited’s 150 high school and college chapters annually raise more than $2 million for wetlands habitat conservation.
Winnebago Industries also is supporting Ducks Unlimited’s Living Lakes Initiative. The initiative enhances, restores and protects managed shallow lakes and wetlands from central Iowa through northern Minnesota to provide high-quality aquatic food and habitat resources for migrating and breeding waterfowl. They represent prairie pothole habitat and are part of the “Duck Factory” that supports waterfowl breeding and migrating across the continent in fall and spring.
The Winnebago Industries support helped DU protect valuable land in Dickinson County, Iowa, for wildlife habitat, water quality and public recreation. DU is leading a $1.2 million conservation project that includes the acquisition of a 159-acre parcel of former agricultural land. East of Okoboji, in the heart of Iowa’s Great Lakes region, the land will be turned over to the Iowa Department of Natural Resources for the establishment of a new wildlife management area.
“More than 90% of the region’s prairie potholes have been lost due to drainage and conversion, and more than 99% of its prairies have been plowed under or paved over,” Batson said. “Winnebago Industries’ support will help Ducks Unlimited improve the significant decline in breeding and migrating waterfowl numbers in both states, while slowing the decline in waterfowl hunters.”