Lewis named president of Ducks Unlimited

Published 2:02 am Sunday, June 24, 2007

NATCHEZ — Bruce Lewis is flying high these days.

On June 4 at a meeting in Alaska, he was named national Ducks Unlimited president, and for him the honor is worthy of a little soaring.

Ducks Unlimited, founded in 1937, is a nonprofit organization that is committed to the conservation of wetlands and habitats of North American waterfowl. By restoring grasslands and watersheds, replanting forests, working with partners and acquiring lands they have helped conserve 12 million acres of land and boasts about 600,000 members. Canada and Mexico also boast Ducks Unlimited chapters.

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“I feel confident in saying that we are the leading waterfowl and wetlands conservation organization,” Lewis said.

Lewis became involved in Ducks Unlimited when he moved to Natchez in the mid 1970s.

“I went to dinner and have been going ever since,” Lewis said.

Lewis has previously served as an at large board member, regional vice president for South Mississippi Flyway, sponsor and district chairman, South Mississippi chairman and first vice president.

When asked how he had gotten to be in such high ranking he replied, “I just can’t say no.”

Now, Lewis is juggling his Natchez law practice with the travel that comes with the new DU title.

“I have got good partners that help cover me when I have to leave,” Lewis said.

Last year’s president traveled 40 weekends out of the year.

“It’s a bit of a trick, but I am able to keep my calendar,” Lewis said.

Lewis’ goals include increasing membership, working with the government to have an impact on the farm bill, restoring the Prairie Pothole region and the Mississippi Alluvial Valley, and getting more youth involved in Duck’s Unlimited.

“Habitat drives wildlife,” Lewis said. “We are looking for landscape change, not just one acre is Mississippi or one acre in Alberta.”

Lewis is staying away from other’s political agendas.

“Ducks Unlimited does not get into a lot of issues, our single purpose is to conserve wildlife,” Lewis said.

Lewis also plans on recruiting at least 100,000 members with the new five-year business plan.

“I believe we can do it in less than that amount of time,” Lewis said.

Lewis is focusing on building a money reserve for the organization. Ducks Unlimited pumps at least 80 percent of their funds into wildlife preservation projects that biologist have suggested.

Lewis enjoys the camaraderie of the organization.

“This gives me opportunity collectively with other people that feel the same way,” Lewis said.

Lewis has had opportunities to hunt most of North America with some of the most interesting people.

“It is quite an honor to be given these kind of opportunities,” Lewis said.