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Ducks Unlimited Announces Conservation Leadership Changes

MEMPHIS, Tenn. – Nov. 5, 2019 – Ducks Unlimited (DU) announced today the hiring of Dr. Karen Waldrop as the new Chief Conservation Officer and the promotion of DU’s Director of Operations in the Great Plains Region, Dr. Steve Adair, to the new position of National Director for Conservation Strategies. 

Ducks Unlimited Dr. Karen Waldrop
Dr. Karen Waldrop and Dr. Steve Adair

“I am pleased to announce that Karen will be joining Ducks Unlimited’s executive team as our new Chief Conservation Officer,” said DU CEO Adam Putnam. “Karen’s state and national leadership experience, passion, and reputation in wildlife conservation are a perfect fit for Ducks Unlimited.”

Most recently, Waldrop served as the Deputy Commissioner for the Kentucky Department of Fish and Wildlife Resources (KDFWR). She also has years of professional experience with waterfowl and migratory bird conservation serving as Kentucky’s representative to the Mississippi Flyway Council. In addition, she serves as an Executive Council member of the North American Bird Conservation Initiative. 

“I am honored to have been chosen as DU’s new Chief Conservation Officer,” Waldrop said. “While I’ve been at the KDFWR for more than a decade, I’m excited about the change. Wetlands and waterfowl conservation have long been a passion for me, and I can’t wait to hit the ground running.” 

Reporting to DU’s COO, Waldrop will serve as a strategic leader and member of DU’s executive leadership team. She will also lead a national/regional department with approximately 215 employees. In addition, Waldrop will oversee a conservation program operating budget of more than $100 million. 

Meanwhile in the Prairie Pothole Region (PPR), former DU Director of Operations Steve Adair will move into the position of National Director for Conservation Strategies (NDCS). 

“During his long tenure with DU, Steve has been a conservation thought leader for the organization,” Putnam said. “His vision and expertise in the Prairies, and for all wetlands conservation, make him the perfect fit for this new position.”

The NDCS position will be responsible for providing strategic leadership focused on accelerating conservation efforts in the PPR and for guiding and coordinating the implementation of DU’s highest priority strategic focal areas related to conservation delivery including water and ecosystem services. 

“It’s evident that our wetlands conservation work benefits not only waterfowl, but other wildlife and even people,” Adair said. “I’ve worked for DU for 22 years and in that time have seen the great benefits DU’s conservation efforts provide for communities across the continent. It’s because of the importance of that work that I’m excited about taking on this new role to further our international conservation efforts.”  

Waldrop will begin her new role on Nov. 18 and Adair will move into his new position Dec. 1.  

For more information, visit www.ducks.org, and be sure to Follow DU’s newest Twitter feed – @DUNews1937 – to get the most up-to-date news from Ducks Unlimited.

About Ducks Unlimited

Ducks Unlimited Inc. is the world’s largest nonprofit organization dedicated to conserving North America’s continually disappearing waterfowl habitats. Established in 1937, Ducks Unlimited has conserved more than 14.5 million acres thanks to contributions from more than a million supporters across the continent. Guided by science and dedicated to program efficiency, DU works toward the vision of wetlands sufficient to fill the skies with waterfowl today, tomorrow and forever. For more information on our work, visit www.ducks.org.

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