MEMPHIS, Tenn., July 23, 2010 – U. S. Sec. of the Interior Ken Salazar and U.S. Sec. of Agriculture Tom Vilsack announced that John Tomke, a former Ducks Unlimited president and current president of Ducks Unlimited de Mexico, has been appointed as a member of the new Wildlife and Hunting Heritage Conservation Council.
The 18-member WHHCC will help promote and preserve America’s hunting heritage for future generations and will also provide a forum for sportsmen and women to advise the federal government on policies related to wildlife and habitat conservation. The WHHCC is an official advisory group under the Federal Advisory Committee Act and will be an official advisory board to the Departments of the Interior and Agriculture.
“As a lifelong sportsman, I’m honored and privileged to serve on this council and look forward to working with its members to conserve our wildlife and preserve our hunting heritage,” Tomke said. “Hunters have long been at the forefront of conservation in America, and this council will play an important role in advancing that proud tradition.”
“Ducks Unlimited is pleased that John Tomke, one of our organization’s most active and dedicated leaders, has been appointed to this vitally important conservation council, and we applaud the administration for it efforts to recognize sportsmen’s contributions to conservation and to safeguard our nation’s hunting heritage,” Dale Hall, DU CEO said. “John has been involved with Ducks Unlimited for nearly 40 years, and we look forward to working closely with him and the other members of the WHHCC to help promote wildlife and wetlands habitat conservation and America’s hunting heritage.”
In making the appointment today, Sec. Salazar said, “Dating back to President Theodore Roosevelt, our nation’s hunters have taken the lead in conservation of wildlife and its habitat. They have contributed billions of dollars to conservation programs through licenses, permits and excise taxes, and they have been among the most ardent volunteers through a wide variety of sportsmen’s organizations. Conservation in America, frankly, would be a shadow of what it is today, were it not for the hunters of this country, and it is vitally important that we keep America’s hunting heritage strong.”
Speaking from Washington, D.C., Sec. Vilsack said, “Members of this council are going to play a crucial role in our ongoing efforts to improve the health and management of both our public and private lands. Today’s announcement expands and formalizes a long-standing tradition of a partnership and collaboration between sportsmen and sportswomen, conservation groups, public and private entities and resource managers.
“Hunting is not only important for conservation and jobs in rural America, it is in my belief a very important part of the social fabric of rural America,” Vilsack said.
Tomke also serves as a member of the Ducks Unlimited Board of Directors and a member of the conservation organization’s Wetlands America Trust Board. He was president of DU from 2002-2005.
He is a native of Bay City, MI, and a graduate of the University of Cincinnati with a degree in chemical engineering. Tomke retired from Dow Chemical Corporation as vice president of global operations for Dow AgroSciences. He and his wife, Judy, live in Carmel, IN.
Ducks Unlimited 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 13 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.