Assisting Nature: Ducks, “Ding” and DU

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van der Valk, Arnold
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Ecology, Evolution and Organismal Biology

The Department of Ecology, Evolution, and Organismal Biology seeks to teach the studies of ecology (organisms and their environment), evolutionary theory (the origin and interrelationships of organisms), and organismal biology (the structure, function, and biodiversity of organisms). In doing this, it offers several majors which are codirected with other departments, including biology, genetics, and environmental sciences.

The Department of Ecology, Evolution, and Organismal Biology was founded in 2003 as a merger of the Department of Botany, the Department of Microbiology, and the Department of Zoology and Genetics.

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Jay "Ding" Darling (1876-1962) was a newspaper editorial cartoonist and duck hunter. Because of his pro-conservation cartoons, he had become one America’s most prominent conservationists by the early 1930s. Joseph P. Knapp (1864-1951) was a prominent businessman, philanthropist, conservationist, and duck hunter who, like Darling, had become concerned about the decline of waterfowl populations. Both worked to reverse this duck decline. Darling was appointed chief of the Bureau of Biological Survey in 1934 by President Franklin Roosevelt. During his short tenure as its chief (1934-1935), he focused the Bureau’s mission more on wildlife conservation and he oversaw the expansion of the national wildlife refuge system. In 1930, Knapp founded the More Game Birds in America Foundation. This Foundation through its waterfowl surveys documented that western Canada was the major breeding ground of ducks in North America. This resulted in the Foundation establishing Ducks Unlimited, Inc. in the US and Ducks Unlimited (Canada) in 1937. DU, Inc. would raise money, and DU (Canada) would spend this money in western Canada on wetland conservation and restoration projects. Both men helped to slow down the loss of wetlands by stressing the need for the public and private sectors to conserve and restore them as waterfowl habitat. They also shaped future wetland science by creating opportunities for the employment of wetland scientists.


This article is published as van der Valk, A. G. 2018. Assisting nature: Ducks, “Ding” and FU. Wetland Science and Practice 35:60-67. Posted with permission.

Mon Jan 01 00:00:00 UTC 2018