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Hamiota resident answers the call again, 35 years later

Former Ducks Unlimited Canada volunteer Keeman shares his story in time for special anniversary
Don Lee started as a DUC volunteer when he signed up as a DUC Keeman in 1982. Since then, he’s contributed countless hours as a DUC volunteer and a conservation leader in his community. He continues to share his love of the outdoors with his family.

“When I look back, it was nice to be a part of it.” – Don Lee

In 1982, Don Lee answered the call. Thirty-five years later, he did it again.

In December, the Hamiota resident contacted Ducks Unlimited Canada (DUC) when he learned through a local newspaper story that the organization was looking for stories of original Keemen and Keewomen as part of its 80th anniversary celebrations this year. DUC’s officially turns 80 on April 1.

From DUC’s beginning in 1938 to the end of the Keeman program in the late 1990s, volunteers from all walks of life regularly reported their observations of waterfowl, habitat, and weather and even suggested potential conservation sites. That data guided DUC’s conservation efforts.

Lee is a long-time farmer, purebred Hereford cattle rancher and hunter with strong ties to the land. Motivated by his fond outdoor experiences and a concern over low duck numbers, decided to join DUC’s Keeman ranks in 1982.

Lee monitored the Crandall/Miniota/Hamiota area where his farm was located, covering nine townships.

Every spring and fall, Lee made his rounds. He monitored a landscape dotted with the kinds of pothole wetlands and sloughs ducks rely on for breeding and nesting. His reports were invaluable to help guide DUC’s wetland restoration and conservation efforts in the area.

“Being raised here, you know where the water starts and ends,” said Lee. “We gave them (DUC) the eyes and ears out there and saved them from driving all over the place.”

Lee’s involvement in the Keeman Program led to another volunteer role in 1986 when he became the first chairman of DUC’s Hamiota fundraising chapter.

In appreciation of volunteers like Don Lee, DUC is proclaiming 2018 and the 80th anniversary as “The Year of the Volunteer.” DUC is still interested in hearing from people like Lee; volunteers and dedicated “citizen scientists” who helped build Ducks Unlimited Canada into the strong conservation organization it is today.

Please contact DUC and help us find other former Keeman volunteers or their relatives. We’ll share their stories online at (where you can now see Lee’s full story). Send an email to or call 1-800-665-3825.

About Ducks Unlimited Canada:Ducks Unlimited Canada (DUC) is the leader in wetland conservation. A registered charity, DUC partners with government, industry, non-profit organizations and landowners to conserve wetlands that are critical to waterfowl, wildlife and the environment.

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