Last year, we at the ABA made the Migratory Bird Hunting and Conservation Stamp, known far and wide as the Duck Stamp, available through our own store. We hoped this would give birders an opportunity to vote, as it were, for how they want their voices to be heard as consumers of Wildlife Refuges in the US. With little fanfare, and an even smaller marketing budget, we managed to sell well over 1000 stamps (1041 to be exact, or about 8.6% of our membership) thereby raising more than $15,600 for habitat conservation. And most importantly, that was entirely from birders.
There’s no reason to think we can’t better that in 2015, and not just because the cost of a Duck Stamp increased to $25. Though that will undoubtedly help.
It cannot be denied that the Duck Stamp is a wonderfully effective conservation program. It also cannot be denied that many birders have been hesitant to go all-in on this conservation tool for understandable reasons. Some birders find waterfowl hunting distasteful and don’t want to feel as though they’re supporting it. But mostly, it is the concern that the numbers of non-consumptive users of National Wildlife Refuges are not tallied, and the true support of birders for habitat and bird conservation is not accurately assessed.
We use refuges, too. We are proud to support them. We want a seat at the table, too, alongside our friends in the hunting community because in the end, our common goals of habitat protection and healthy bird populations far outweigh the little that divides us.
This is not a fund-raiser for the ABA. We are not seeking to make any money doing this. What we want from this effort is an accounting of birders, not just in numbers but in dollars and cents. And we know from countless members and friends that this is what birders want, too.
Duck Stamps officially go on sale TODAY, and once again you can purchase at our shop. Don’t just feel like you need to stop at one, either. Duck stamps make fantastic gifts for birders, young and old. You can use them as birthday or holiday gifts or bird clubs can sell them during their monthly meetings. Consider them for end-of-year appreciation gifts for bird club field trip leaders or awards for birders who go above and beyond. The possibilities are nearly endless.
We hope that you will help us. In doing so, you will not only help the birds that use National Wildlife Refuges, but we birders who care to have a voice about them.
So purchase a Duck Stamp through the ABA. Be counted.
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