History

The History of Waterfowl Chesapeake

While Waterfowl Chesapeake was established in 2011, its story began more than forty years ago at the very first Waterfowl Festival in 1971.

It started with the Waterfowl Festival…

For more than four decades, Waterfowl Festival Inc. has staged an annual event that has raised nearly $5.3 million for wildlife and habitat conservation, education and research.

The individuals who planned and carried out that first Festival, proudly presented $7,500 in proceeds to Ducks Unlimited. Since that modest beginning, more than fifty organizations have benefitted from the event.  To date, the Festival has invested nearly $4 million in habitat conservation, more than $1.2 million in environmental education, and more than $26,000 in wildlife research initiatives.

This broad-brush approach to grant appropriations served the organization well as it grew over the years, expanding its reach and reputation among other conservation entities, and enhancing visibility as an effective and respected partner protecting the Chesapeake Bay region.

After recognizing that the Festival had the influence and reputation to take its conservation work to the next level, the organization turned its focus towards more collaborative and participatory projects that leveraged funds and created partnerships with other organizations to accomplish even more.

Waterfowl Chesapeake Takes Flight

Following the success of projects at Eastern Neck Wildlife Refuge and the Bay Street Ponds, the Board of Directors of the Waterfowl Festival established Waterfowl Chesapeake Inc. in 2011. With a mission to create, restore and conserve waterfowl habitat in the Chesapeake Bay region, Waterfowl Chesapeake will sustain and build upon the Festival’s conservation legacy while writing a story all its own.