The New Mexico chapter of Ducks Unlimited is holding its annual fundraising banquet here in Santa Fe at the Inn of the Loretto's Luminaria Restaurant.

The dinner, which costs $65, is scheduled for 5:30 to 11:30 pm tomorrow, Saturday Aug. 27.

Ducks Unlimited is a sportsmen's group, but their fundraising goes to benefit wetlands restoration and preservation projects. The American Institute of Philanthropy rated it in its top 100 charities for efficiency, which is reserved for organizations that "generally spend 75 percent or more of their budgets on programs, spend $25 or less to raise $100 in public support, do not hold excessive assets in reserve, and receive "open-book" status for disclosure of basic financial information and documents," according to the website

DU has bought 12 million acres of wetlands to be kept wild since it was established in 1937. As SFR recently reported, wetlands preservation could take a big hit if the senate passes the Interior Appropriations Bill that would dramatically reduce funds going to the North American Wetlands Conservation Act.

DU NM member Fred Kolb says although contributions from corporate sponsors are important to their fundraising as well, "a large part of their funding comes through the individual chapters," making the annual dinner an important event. There will be a live auction, a silent auction, and a raffle, featuring approximately 60 separate items ranging in retail value from $25 to $3,000, Kolb says. The items include wine, pottery, artwork, firearms and "beautiful old jewelry," all donated by locals. 

"The money we collect goes to Ducks Unlimited, because we're all volunteers, so it costs nothing other than the price of the banquet," Kolb says.

Duck will not be served.

"It's difficult to prepare duck for 150 people," Kolb says.

Instead, the menu includes roast beef, chicken, a vegetarian pasta dish and "fabulous, absolutely worth the price of admission chocolate mousse cake," Kolb says.